Media Assault on Libra Continues

Libra, Facebook’s intended cryptocurrency, launched a week ago, and the press is still up in arms about it. Here are some of the choicest opinions from across the world that were published in the last 72 hours alone that reflect the negativity felt almost wholesale across the media outlets.

Washington Post

“…what prevents Facebook and its 28 corporate partners — the likes of Uber — from changing the composition of the Libra basket and altering its value as they see fit? What prevents them from changing the rules of the game midstream?”

“Do we really believe, given Russian manipulation of such platforms, that Facebook and its partners are capable of recognizing money laundering when they see it and searching it out when they don’t?”

“Facebook has earned this skepticism of the public. This is not something people are not going to rush to embrace.”

Financial Times

“This currency would insert a powerful new corporate layer of monetary control between central banks and individuals.”

“Regulators in emerging markets should slow down Facebook’s push by preventing local banks and payment processing networks from accepting Libra.”

“…it’s [sic] objective isn’t building an open-loop decentralised system, but quite plainly, getting the world at large to onboard, politically and financially, into its holistic and autocratic system.”

“…it is already clear that the company hopes to skirt banking regulations.”

“Putting so much data in one organisation is asking for trouble, particularly given Facebook’s past failures…”

“Is that really how the unbanked issue should be solved? By turning half of society into an effective slave class that gets access to capital only on the condition that their compliance to community standards is guaranteed on all fronts?”

The Guardian

“…why should a company with such an appalling record on personal data be trusted to so massively extend its reach?”

“It would amass mountains of lucrative information about everything from our friends to when we last paid a speeding fine – and in the process, bring unlimited corporate power into areas we still consider subject to the checks and balances of democracy.”

“…are we comfortable with the idea of a new global currency controlled by a consortium of corporate bosses?”

“Far from decentralising the financial system, Libra will further centralise our data.”

The Independent

“…does this mean you’re going to have to submit a passport, a utility or council tax bill, a driving licence and so on, before signing up to Facebook? Most of the unbanked don’t have those. Lacking such documents is often why they are unbanked, in both the developing but also the developed world. So it would rather defeat the object.”

“…the Libra Foundation (pay $10m and you’re in) is notably headquartered in a country whose banking secrecy laws have allowed all sorts of questionable conduct.”

The New York Times

“Its promise to diffuse control — at some point in the future — relies on technology that is not yet developed.”

The Hill

“Libra will be a nonstarter, for many reasons.”

Axios

“Even domestically, Libra doesn’t seem to solve any of the problems facing the unbanked.”

“Libra can’t be successful without regulatory approval, and that approval isn’t going to arrive anytime soon.”

Love Isn’t in the Air

As we can clearly see, enthusiasm is not high for Zuck bucks, potentially because it sits at the center of a Venn diagram of Facebook itself, cryptocurrency, and an ‘anti-bank’ philosophy. What will it take for sentiment to change? Everything, frankly.

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