PLAN TO LIVE
THE ONLY SOCIAL NETWORKING
SYSTEM LEFT FOR THE TECH
BEHEMOTH TO CONQUER IS THE
ORIGINAL ONE: MONEY.
BY JOHN PAVLUS
By now you’ve probably heard about Libra, the
global digital currency that Facebook recently announced plans to develop. This past summer, the internet went ablaze trying to explain what Libra “really”
is. A true cryptocurrency? (Depends on which nerd you
ask.) A potential threat to the global financial system?
(Jerome H. Powell, chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve,
thinks so.) An innocent attempt to bring innovative
fintech options to developing nations where banks are
ripping people off . . . so can everybody please just chill?
(That’s Facebook’s o wn take, paraphrased from a slightly
exasperated-sounding July blog post by David Marcus,
the Facebook executive spearheading Libra.)
Libra might be all of these things, or none. We won’t
know until 2020, when Facebook plans to launch it, if it
launches it at all—House Financial Services Committee
chair Maxine Waters, Democratic senator Sherrod Brown,
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and even President
Trump all seem keen to kill Libra in its crib. But it’s important to grasp the goal of the project, if only because it
reflects a dramatic escalation in ambition for a company
that already claims one-third of the planet’s population as
users. If Facebook succeeds even modestly with its plans
for Libra, everyone could be affected.
To understand Libra, start with this: Facebook has already won. Boasting 2. 7 billion monthly users across four
world-eating platforms (Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Facebook itself), Mark Zuckerberg’s social