The launch of a crypto-like-currency by social media giant Facebook has been the topic of many discussions in the Bitcoin and digital asset space recently. However, little was known about it outside of the company developing a mysterious blockchain department and rumours about a WhatsApp-based digital coin being launched by the firm.
According to a report published today by Forbes more details of the project have emerged. Nothing is particularly exciting about today’s revelations but we really wish the publication would drop the “rival to Bitcoin” angle.
Facebook Announces Further Details of its Intranet to Bitcoin’s Internet
The social media giant Facebook has disclosed further details about its plans to launch a digital currency (very) loosely inspired by Bitcoin. The company will reportedly be launching “GlobalCoin” – snappy, we know – in early 2020 and will offer some form of payments network between a dozen countries at first.
According to reports, Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and CEO of Facebook, met with Bank of England governor, Mark Carey, to discuss the plans and has also put the idea to US Treasury officials, as well as money transfer firms, and the top brass at the Gemini crypto exchange.
Zuckerberg told a Facebook developer conference last month that he thought payments was an area that the firm could really make things easier for people. However, the move also stinks of a desperate attempt to stay relevant amid dwindling users and security controversies such as the Cambridge Analytica scandal last year.
Fast, Cheap, Centralised Payments, Two out of Three Ain’t Bad, Right?
The fact that today’s announcement did not move the Bitcoin market whatsoever could be evidence of a much more mature market – particularly given that publications like Forbes seem hell bend on branding GlobalCoin as an alternative to Bitcoin. The very headline of the article is “Facebook And WhatsApp Break Cover With Bitcoin Rival Plans”, it then goes on to reference the scheme as a rival to Bitcoin multiple times in the text.
Facebook is gearing up to launch a rival to bitcoin as soon as next year as it accelerates plans to diversify its revenue away from advertising https://t.co/UB3kQP91vu pic.twitter.com/jCYNHG8eI3
— Forbes (@Forbes) May 24, 2019
However, the two couldn’t really be any different. The truly inspiring and remarkable thing about Bitcoin is how difficult it is to stop someone using the network. Aside from physically restraining an individual, the is no way anyone can halt a value transfer. Users need to trust no single entity.
Whilst specific details of the launch of GlobalCoin are still shadowy at best, we can state with almost absolute clarity, if Zuckerberg needs to schmooze up to the US Treasury and the Bank of England to get an A-OK , there will be very little world-changing or disruptive about it. It therefore represents competition to the dollar, euro, or yen, rather than Bitcoin itself, which is potentially much more liberating and powerful.
In the following video, Bitcoin evangelist discusses the kind of private versions of digital assets that firms such as Facebook and JP Morgan have been exploring recently:
The social media executive’s stance could not be more different from that of crypto, and more specifically Bitcoin, uber-optimist Jack Dorsey. Dorsey is Zuckerberg’s equivalent at Twitter and nicely demonstrates how a CEO not hell-bent on world domination behaves.
He sees radical freedom-creating opportunity in Bitcoin so has decided to back companies developing on it, provide consistent price support with $10,000 monthly buys, and champions the network at every available opportunity. Every heard of TwitterCoin? No, neither have we. That’s because he doesn’t want his hands all over your wallet, as well as every detail of your personal life.
Whilst GlobalCoin poses little risk to Bitcoin itself, some from the crypto asset space are optimistic about how the news will impact the the purely decentralised asset. Spencer Bogart of Blockchain Capital recently speculated on the on boarding potential of such a scheme:
“It will be like being on the internet so people can spin-out and start owning bitcoin, Ethereum… Bitcoin has gone from zero users ten years ago to somewhere between 30 million to 100 million–the estimates are tough. And Facebook has billions of users.”
Related Reading: US Senate Mulls Regulatory Implications of Facebook’s Mysterious Crypto Project
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