Libra & digital currency

Read a good article this morning (here) about Libra, the journey so far & where to next, also about the digital currency landscape as a whole.

Some snipets:

“Zuckerberg likes to say that Facebook is only ever 1% finished. So the space appears under perpetual construction.”

“The pitch: They could own a stake in a supranational currency that could extend financial services to the world’s 1.7 ­billion “unbanked” people, knock down obstacles to e-commerce, and generally make it easier and cheaper for money to fly around the globe.”

“The Libra Association still counts 21 corporations, startups, venture capital firms, and NGOs as members. Uber, Lyft, Spotify, telecom multinational Vodafone, and cryptocurrency broker Coinbase are among those still on board. And the association says it still hopes to launch Libra in 2020.”

“Everyone is now talking about digital currencies around the world—everyone. And if it hadn’t come from us, that timeline—to make progress in having the right framework for digital currencies—would have taken much longer.” 

“Facebook could succeed where PayPal, Marcus’s old employer, had capitulated: realizing the libertarian dream of a pure, borderless Internet money, rather than a market-by-market approach in which costs and delays persisted.”

The quitters have “all the option value, none of the heat,” Marcus says. As PayPal CEO Dan Schulman recently told Fortune, “Maybe later, there are ways we can work together.” 

“One thing is certain: All the interested parties, private and public, have had a fire lit under them. “What Libra indicates is how quickly things are moving now,” says Gabriel Söderberg, a senior economist at Sweden’s Riksbank, which has been exploring the feasibility of an e-Krona since 2017. “It really shows central banks that time isn’t waiting for anyone.” And time, as any business leader knows, is money.”

“The People’s Bank of China (PBOC), China’s central bank, plans to put a digitized version of the renminbi—dubbed the Digital Currency Electronic Payment (DCEP)—into people’s hands before the end of 2019, according to Caijing, a Chinese financial magazine. The central bank is reportedly working with state-owned banks and telecom companies on a smallscale pilot that will start in the cities of Shenzhen and Suzhou. (The PBOC did not reply to Fortune’s request for comment.)”


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