Like Libra But Without Facebook

In the wake of reports that Facebook’s Libra currency is losing backers, Mashable is reporting that OpenLibra is being positioned as an alternative, “an open platform for financial inclusion. Not run by Facebook.”

The new cryptocurrency was announced in Osaka, Japan at the Ethereum Foundation’s Devcon 5 conference. The currency will share the same Move language, as well as the Libra coin. As such, the platform will build on Libra’s strengths, while at the same time addressing its perceived weaknesses.

“As designed, the Libra platform:

– Will be distributed but not decentralized.
– Will require permissions to interact with.
– Will not have privacy guarantees.
– Will be run by a plutocracy.

“A number of features of Libra are useful and perhaps transformative to the most vulnerable. But their stated plans may lead to worrying outcomes:

– The Libra coin would be governed by a closed group of corporations. People around the world, even if not FB users, will be constituents of the Libra network, however will have no direct recourse to the policies of the association. If Libra becomes the internet’s central bank, the need for a more inclusive form of governance becomes urgent.

– Value flows to the founders. Value created within the Libra ecosystem will be captured by the few corporations that are already part of the consortium. To date, Facebook has no plan for including more partners in the consortium or redistributing proceeds with more actors within their network.

– Surveillance finance. One’s ability to engage financially (e.g. borrow in Libra) will potentially be determined by their social graph and online activity.”

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While OpenLibra is positioned as an alternative to Libra, the project’s website makes clear that they believe Libra will succeed, despite its setbacks and government scrutiny. Whatever the future holds, cryptocurrency looks to be shaping up as the next ideological background.

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