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  • B Vrettos and M Bacina

Libra seizes the ‘day’ with rebranding

Updated: May 2

The launch of Libra back in June 2019 drew swathes of attention as the Libra Association attempted to create a compliant digital currency backed by a basket of currencies with the backing of silicon valley giants including Facebook, Uber and PayPal.

The regulatory (and media) scrutiny Libra faced before even being able to provide details of the planned digital currency was intense, with concerns about privacy, money laundering and infringing the power of central banks being thrown around with a heaping of "BigTech can't be trusted" thrown in for good measure. This intense pressure has led to many pivots for Libra (including their Calibra wallet project being rebranded "Novi") and now a further pivot has seen a complete rebrand of the Libra Association which is now the Diem Association – but the logo has remained. Diem of course means ‘day’ in Latin, and no doubt the Association's simpler structure and clearer separation from Facebook is aimed at avoiding some of the earlier pressure.

The Diem missions:

To build a trusted and innovative financial network that empowers people and businesses around the world.

is remarkably similar to Libra's initial goal to enable:

A simple global currency and financial infrastructure that empowers billions of people.

The Diem Association, currently with 27 participants, are proposing to launch the ‘Diem Dollar’ a single US dollar backed coin rather than a token based on a basket of currencies as was originally proposed. It has been suggested that the Diem Dollar could be backed by additional currencies at a later date but the overall ambition for the Diem Dollar appears to be narrowed in scope as:

the Association also no longer plans to eventually transition to a so-called permission less blockchain, which would have let anyone participate in verifying transactions

according to Bloomberg. It remains to be seen how the Diem Dollar will compare with the existing competition of US dollar-based stable coins such as Tether and USDC. As the Diem Association readies itself for the Diem Dollar launch as early as January 2021 it will be interesting to see whether the rebrand will yield more positive regulatory or media treatment.


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