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Facebook announces new cryptocurrency called Libra

A new Facebook-supported blockchain and cryptocurrency, called Libra, was announced today. The goal: a new global currency. But unlike other cryptocurrencies, this one will be backed by a basket of government-issued securities and other investments.

A new governing body called the Libra Association has also been formed, with its 28 founding members (see above image) contributing both capital (at least $10 million) and expertise. Going forward, they will help shape the network. It’s important to note that Facebook will have the same status as all other members of the Association.

Here’s an excerpt from today’s WSJ:

Facebook said Tuesday the network underpinning the new cryptocurrency would be governed by the Libra Association, an independent, not-for-profit organization based in Geneva. Facebook named more than two-dozen founding partners in that association, including Uber, Visa Inc. and a handful of venture-capital firms and blockchain companies like Coinbase.

The other thing that differentiates Libra from other cryptocurrencies is that when it launches next year (2020), it will do so inside some of the most widely used consumer apps on the internet, including Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. That translates into somewhere around 2.4 billion active users.

Many within in the industry are already speculating that this could be what finally brings the crypto ecosystem into the mainstream, which is, I guess, why companies such as Visa and Mastercard have already signed on to the project. I am also thrilled to see the Creative Destruction Lab listed above. They are a seed-stage program based out of the University of Toronto.

If you’d like to learn more about Libra, here’s the official website and here’s a good solid overview by TechCrunch.

Image: Libra

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