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Facebook-Led Group Launches a Cryptocurrency for Consumers

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Jun 18, 2019, 9:38 AM   by Rich Brome   @rbrome

Facebook today announced Libra, a new digital currency that aims to combine the best features of other cryptocurrencies in order to be more consumer-friendly. The currency will be administered by the Libra Association, a new non-for-profit based in Geneva. Founding members include Facebook, Mastercard, Visa, PayPal, Stripe, eBay, Lyft, Spotify, Uber, Vodafone Group, and Coinbase, as well as non-profit and academic members. Facebook's new Calibra subsidiary will create a Libra wallet app. The Calibra wallet will not require a Facebook account and Calibra will not share transaction data with Facebook. Third parties will also be able to create their own Libra wallet apps. Users will be able to exchange local currency for Libra (and vice versa) through these wallet apps, and at physical locations. The local currency will be transferred to the Libra Association to provide 100% backing for Libra currency. Interest on those deposits will pay for operating expenses, investments in the ecosystem, engineering research, and grants to non-profits and other organizations. Excess interest will be distributed to founding members. Libra transactions won't carry the high fees that credit cards do, although a small (less than one cent) transaction fee will deter certain spam and denial attacks. The symbol for the Libra is ≋ (three wavy lines). The value of a Libra is tied to a basket of deposits in historically stable international currencies, which can be rebalanced to keep the Libra stable. The Libra's starting value will be close to one dollar, euro, or pound. Libra is much faster and more efficient than Bitcoin, able to handle 1,000 transactions per second and designed to scale much higher. When a transaction is submitted, each of the Libra nodes, run independently by Libra Association members, runs a blockchain calculation. Two-thirds of the nodes must come to consensus that the transaction is legitimate for it to be executed and written to the blockchain. Facebook's Calibra will implement Know Your Customer rules in the sign-up process to prevent fraud, requiring a government-issued photo ID, for example. The Libra Association will incentivize other wallet providers to do the same. Libra is launching a limited test network today. When Libra launches to consumers in the first half of 2020, Facebook will launch Calibra as a standalone wallet app, but also as a feature within Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp on both Android and iOS.

more info at Facebook »
more info at TechCrunch »

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