We’ve known for more than a year that there was a department at Facebook HQ dedicateto creating a cryptocurrency. And in June, the social media giant unveiled its crypto plans in a white paper.
The new digital currency is to be called Libra and is designed to be a low-volatility currency that will let its users buy things or send money to people with very low fees.
It will be backed by reserves managed by an independent organisation, called the Libra Association, made up of several leading tech firms and non-profits which gives the token real-world value and oversees the governance of the blockchain technology that powers it.
The announcement of Libra had the effect of boosting the existing crypto sector.
Indeed, last month Bitcoin, the world’s largest cryptocurrency by market cap, enjoyed a year-to-date rise of some 193%.
Much of this can be attributed to Libra. Why? Because tech giants entering the cryptocurrency sector indicates that digital money, as a concept, is fully mainstream and inevitably the way the world is going. This is something we have been arguing for a long time now — despite protestations from financial traditionalists.
Fast forward to this week. After continuing to hit new 2019 highs, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies like Ethereum and Ripple’s XRP, have dipped in value. And again it is largely down to Facebook’s Libra.
While speaking to House lawmakers Wednesday, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the U.S. central bank has "serious concerns" about Libra.
Cue the dropping values of Bitcoin et al!
But this is all being significantly overplayed.
I believe that Facebook, which is after all the world’s highest profile social media giant, is expecting this level of scrutiny. I would suggest that it is prepared for it, has the resources for it, and will welcome it, as it will make its cryptocurrency stronger.
Whilst it might well take some time, as it is something of a ‘test case’, I’m confident the process will conclude that development can continue.
Regulatory scrutiny will also likely be welcomed by the wider cryptocurrency sector once the knee-jerk reaction dissipates as it adds credibility and legitimacy to the market, giving both retail and institutional investors more confidence.
Where Facebook leads, others will inevitably follow, and this will quicken the pace of mass adoption of digital currencies.
The already burgeoning sector is becoming unstoppable as institutional investors increasingly step off the sidelines and jump into the sector.
They understand, as do retail investors, that in our ever-more digitalised, globalised world, borderless, digital currencies are the future of money and they want to be and need to be part of it.
The astonishing and quickening pace of the digitalisation of the global economy is going to be fuelled, and likely, led by cryptocurrencies and the revolutionary technology, Blockchain, on which they run.
Libra is a major development in the crypto-verse. The Fed’s comments of it are seen as an obstacle, but the scrutiny should be embraced and championed. Facebook’s got this and the cryptocurrencies market will be better for it.
Nigel Green is founder and CEO of deVere Group. One of the world’s largest independent financial advisory organizations, de Vere does business in 100 countries and has more than $12 billion under advisement.
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