Although it hasn’t disappeared, cryptocurrency and digital currencies seemed to have taken a backseat in recent months as far as news coverage is concerned. Given the global economy and health situation, however, interest in this new form of currency has apparently surged in the background. That may have given the group behind Facebook’s controversial Libra cryptocurrency the motivation to finally push it to the market as early as January, even if it isn’t the grand vision that Facebook and its remaining allies had for it last year.
It’s not that hard to imagine why Libra would be bogged down by controversy even before it had the chance to prove itself, despite the big names that were once behind it. Cryptocurrency itself is already a difficult concept to grasp by those outside Fintech circles, but the mere association with Facebook, who is credited with Libra’s creation, has instantly raised red flags among regulators. Those regulators still haven’t budged but now it seems that sentiments have changed according to sources.
The Financial Times reports that the Libra Association is looking towards January for the much-delayed launch of the cryptocurrency. It won’t be the same Libra that Facebook et al. flaunted last year and is pretty much a watered-down version of an already watered-down compromise the group had to make to satisfy regulators’ concerns. Getting approval from the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority, however, is just the tip of the iceberg of what the currency has to accomplish.
Having lost founding members such as PayPal. Mastercard, and eBay dealt a big blow to the fledgling association. Although it still has big names like Spotify or Uber, losing members from the financial or commerce sector tarnishes the Association’s image and puts its capability to handle a cryptocurrency into question. Some of those remaining members are even taking a wait and see approach, which could reduce the impact of Libra’s launch in January.
Libra’s biggest problem, however, will be Facebook. Although the group has done everything it could to distance itself from the social networking giant, Libra will remain forever associated with it, even through subsidiaries like Novi, formerly Calibra. Given Facebook’s reputation before lawmakers, regulators, and privacy advocates, the idea of putting the world’s money into its hands will always be an unsettling one.