Earlier this month, Facebook unveiled Libra to the public. The cryptocurrency, expected to launch in early-2020, will be a stablecoin backed by a basket of traditional assets deemed stable by the Libra Association.
As to why this project is being launched, the white paper claims that the network is being created to empower the unbanked, reduce barriers to entry in finance, and to create a world predicated on decentralization.
Indeed, David Marcus, Facebook’s VP of Blockchain, has pledged that the project will become decentralized and will not be a spying tool for Facebook. But, as a new survey reveals, a majority of common mom & pop investors, like you or myself, don’t trust Marcus’ promise, and have instead taken issue with the threats the digital asset poses to society.
80% Unlikely to Get Involved In Libra
If you aren’t too hyped about Libra, you’re not alone. Revealed recently by a poll conducted by financial services firm Jefferies, 80% of 600 American respondents claimed that they are “unlikely” or “very unlikely” to use the Silicon Valley-backed cryptocurrency.
Explaining why, 45% of the naysayers drew attention to their lack of trust in Facebook, which has been slammed by countless privacy concerns and accusations of personal data misuse over its checkered history.
Another 40% noted that they see no use in the cryptocurrency, citing the fact that they already use something like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, or Google Pay.
It seems that the seminal graphic for Libra’s announcement, which involves the logos of Spotify, Uber, Lyft, Visa, PayPal, and other firms that may be deemed “more trustworthy than Facebook” didn’t pay off.
Interestingly, this report paints the exact same picture that a survey covered by Blockonomi previously revealed. As this outlet then noted, 18% of 1,000 respondents to a LendEDU survey claimed they would be entirely amicable towards investing in a Facebook cryptocurrency. This 18% is evidently higher than the purported 9% with capital already in Bitcoin — a good sign.
Regardless, the majority evidently isn’t fine with Libra, no matter what Marcus & Co. have promised.
What’s With The Hate?
This may be due to the rhetoric pushed by technology executives and government officials, some of which have been staunch skeptics of Libra and Facebook’s broader foray into financial services. Just recently, ConsenSys founder and Ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin published an op-ed via Quartz, in which Lubin remarked that there is an evident gulf of trust” between Facebook and the public. He wrote:
“Yet, with the Libra whitepaper, Facebook is not eliminating subjective trust, but imploring us to trust in Libra. You have to trust that one Libra coin will have “intrinsic value” by being backed by a basket of currencies and government bonds, rather than the capriciousness of daily cryptocurrency price swings.”
Phil Chen of HTC expressed a similar concern. The technology executive, who pioneered the technology firm’s smartphone (the first Android smartphone ever) and virtual reality headset, explained that with Libra, Facebook will get even “more direct access to your financial information [than before],” adding that, “It’s not just access to the information of your transactions, it’s direct access to your wealth and capital.”
These fears have been echoed by incumbent politicians and central bankers, most of which are also extremely concerned about how Facebook could use Libra to further encroach on the data of billions the world over. For instance, Maxine Waters, a House Representative, has called for Facebook to halt Libra in its tracks. She is fearful about “national security concerns, cybersecurity risks, and trading risks that are posed by cryptocurrencies,” citing Facebook’s “troubled past”.
As of the time of writing this, there hasn’t been clear regulatory action against Libra. But, if the deluge of anti-Facebook sentiment continues, governments may try and take a stance.