The rise of Facebook’s Libra project ushers in a new era for fintech and heralds the rise of the “branded cryptocurrency.” | Source: Shutterstock
It was hard not to feel compassion for Libra chief David Marcus, watching him deal with angry questioning in Congress two weeks ago. The level of distrust in Facebook has reached new highs – some of the Congressmen and Senators replaced questions with blunt criticism aimed at Marcus and the big blue company. Even Marcus, it felt, must have been surprised by the sheer cacophony of fear, uncertainty, and doubt that he had to sit through as he defended Facebook’s crypto plans.
Meanwhile, Facebook did exactly what you would expect it to. If the whitepaper prepared by Marcus and his team, stretching to a good 100 pages, filled with numerous sensible proposals about how Facebook should not be in power (my italics) wasn’t enough to appease Congress and the public, Marcus’ considerate and calm responses should have been. “You will not have to trust Facebook,” he told the Senate Banking Committee, “because it’s only one of the 28 current and potentially 100 or more Libra Association members, and it won’t have special privileges.”
But they weren’t.
The Good: Libra Could Be the First Mainstream Cryptocurrency
Congressional representatives, including Maxine Waters, tore into Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency. | Source: AP Photo / Andrew Harnik (i), REUTERS / Joshua Roberts (ii). Image Edited by CCN.
For very many reasons, Facebook could not have picked a worse time to launch a project of this scale. Then again, some say Libra is a PR stunt to divert the public’s attention from Facebook’s unmanageable privacy and content control woes.