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  • Writer's pictureMichael Bacina

Facebook backing away from Libra towards fiat denominated tokens

Updated: May 2

Unverified reports have emerged suggesting, from "people familiar with the matter " that the Facebook Wallet project Calibra will not be supporting Libra tokens upon launch but will instead support separate fiat currency backed tokens for each nation.

My early predictions of Libra was that it would be pegged in multi-currency denominations. I was surprised when the project launched as a single global unit, as I was always concerned how the general public would accept the difficulty of buying something priced in a fluctuating asset, even one pegged to a basket of currencies. While this would be unlikely to impact US users greatly, as US dollars would likely form much of the basket backing Libra tokens, other countries like Australia would suffer from the swings in value of Libra relative to the AUD.

As anyone who has sought to purchase goods with Bitcoin knows, the issue of volatility of value for digital currencies is a significant barrier to adoption, one which Bitcoin continues to face, despite being one of the most widely held digital currencies.

It remains to be seen if the entire Libra project pivots to nation specific currency denominations to overcome this UX challenge, which may well occur, even if there remains a core Libra token acting as a payment rails to permit transfers between different national denominations.

Such an approach, while not reaching the levels of decentralisation which some might wish for, could still lead to a highly efficient foreign exchange system leveraging off of Facebook's dramatic global reach, and permitting smart contracts to be engaged with automatic hedging of denominations with Libra tokens underneath.

It will be interesting to see what happens next to the Libra project.


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