Libra, the digital payment platform being developed by Facebook in collaboration with several other fintech companies, has officially announced its existence. Yesterday, June 18th, the Libra project released a white paper and detailed a roadmap that will lead up to the launch of the coin early next year.
Companies that have been named as partners in the project include Paypal, Uber, Spotify, and eBay as well as card processors Visa and Mastercard. It will reportedly be backed by “a basket of bank deposits and treasuries from high-quality central banks,” according to the official press release. In a separate announcement regarding the Calibra digital wallet which will support Libra, Facebook says that one of the projects main goals is to help bank the 31% of unbanked adults around the globe.
“For many people around the world, even basic financial services are still out of reach. This is the challenge we’re hoping to address with Calibra,” the article states.
In addition, it hopes to reduce the cost of fees associated with banking and international remittance with the aim to alleviate poverty in developing nations. The website states that Libra will be accessible to “anyone with an entry-level smartphone and data connectivity.”
The announcement comes at a time when cryptocurrency remains a largely unregulated industry, with many unresolved legal and political complexities. Over the past year, the U.S. and European agencies have begun to develop a regulatory framework for the provision of cryptocurrencies but the work is still in its early stages. Speaking to Swissinfo.ch, chief executive of MoneyGram Alex Holmes noted: “..it discounts for the complexities of cross-border transfers and the legal, regulatory and other responsibilities.”
There has been much discussion recently within the cryptocurrency community regarding Facebook’s foray into digital assets, with a considerable division of opinions. Many crypto traditionalists feel that large corporations like Facebook represent the very entities that cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin were designed in protest of, while others believe the exposure will bring millions of new users to the crypto industry. With many months still until the currency is officially launched, only time will tell.
Users who wish to stay informed of developments of the Libra currency can register for updates on the website of Calibra, a Facebook subsidiary company formed to manage the project.