Just about every bank and business in the world has been watching the evolution of digital currency with simultaneous hunger and hesitation.
If crypto currencies are legitimized and accepted by the world at large as a truly authentic form of money, it will spark off a modern gold rush. Billionaires will be made overnight. Businesses will boom and the world economy will shift titanically away from traditional currency and toward the currency of the future. It would be one of the most important and significant shifts of the 21st century, and perhaps in all of modern history.
But until now, the world has been in “wait and see” mode. Banks have been hesitant to involve themselves with crypto, big companies have been reluctant to invest in it and governments refuse to acknowledge or accept its potential worth. Thus far, the value of crypto currency has been limited to coin “mining,” gambling and online black-market transactions.
That all stands to change, now, though. And it could change very rapidly — all thanks to Facebook. The data gathering social media giant announced on Tuesday May 18th, that they are making strides to create their own form of cryptocurrency called Libra.
And if they follow-through, it could mark the beginning of a new economic era here on planet Earth. It could mean that the crypto-gold-rush has officially begun.
“The launch of Facebook's cryptocurrency will go down in history as THE catalyst that propelled digital assets (including bitcoin) to mass global consumer adoption.” Tweeted Barry Silbert, an early bitcoin backer and founder and CEO Digital Currency Group, “[It] will be remembered as just as important — and transformative — as the launch of the Netscape browser.”
Until Facebook threw their name into this ring, the world of crypto-currencies was dominated by misfits, fringe monkeys, web-pirates and tech-wizards. Crypto was created and supported by anarchistic, anti-establishment, anti-government and anti-bank individuals; people who would rather see the entire world economy collapse before they let corporations or governments get a foothold on their anonymous economy.
Which is part of the reason why banks and big businesses have been so reluctant to move towards crypto. So far, it’s usefulness has been limited to illicit transactions between people trying to circumvent The System — their system. Why would they invest in the technology that’s helping those delinquents to do that?
Well, now they may not have a choice. Facebook’s plan to roll out Libra coin will force banks and private companies into action globally. It will put pressure on the world to go crypto.
Their plan is pretty comprehensive: they want Libra to be an anonymous, digital currency that people can exchange with extreme ease, they want to establish physical “ATM’s” where people can purchase, exchange and move around Libra coins, they even have plans to pay Facebook employees in Libra coin. They will essentially create their own little bubble economy, like a digital Facebook nation unto themselves.
Currently, they have 100 people on the team developing Libra — and they’re hoping to expand.
“People have always questioned how mainstream adoption of something like this might come about. Having the retail base that Facebook has certainly helps that,” Michael Moro, CEO of Genesis Global Trading, told CNBC.
In the wake of Facebook’s Libra announcement, the company’s shares spiked and the price of Bitcoin jumped to $9000 – the highest it’s been in over a year. And financial speculators are losing their shit. To many this looks like the beginning of something very, very big.
“Facebook’s efforts in the space has the potential to be one of, if not the most significant external catalysts for bitcoin and crypto adoption in the technology’s history,” Blockchain Capital’s Spencer Bogart, told CNBC. “Given Facebook’s distribution, the seriousness of their crypto effort, and the caliber of the partners they’re working with, they have a significant chance of onboarding much of the world to digital assets.”
Could this be the push the global economy needed to untether itself from conventional currencies? Will the global economy shift towards crypto because of Facebook?
Probably. Which is almost as unexpected as it was inevitable.
But it isn’t even the strangest thought floating around this odd news: what is Facebook going to do with even more access to even more private information? Because yes, even “anonymous crypto transactions" can be tracked on a distributed ledger by parties who have access to it.
And why for the love of hell, do they need their own currency in the first place? What are they trying to become? Just look at how far they’ve come since their humble beginnings to now, and try and imagine where they're headed. What will this social media company be in another 10 years? In another 20?
Facebook is already a close-to-omniscient, insanely powerful business entity, even without having their own crypto-currency. This seems like an unnecessary grab on their part, and one that’s going to start an avalanche into uncharted economic territory.
Not that anyone has a choice or a way to stop that. We're trapped along for this strange ride, wherever it's bound for.