While there have not been too many updates on Facebook’s proposed cryptocurrency project — Libra — the launch date for the coin is still softly pencilled in for the summer of this year. That date is fast approaching and yet there has been little to no regulatory budget.
Libra faced huge uphill when it launched its whitepaper last year in June. The proposed cryptocurrency was met with resistance from regulators across the globe as the fear was handing power to a private entity to issue currency sounded dangerous.
The project has maintained that they will seek to appease the regulators before launching anything, but have also suggested that if they cannot, there will be no launch. To that end, there seems to be a slight shift in tact from Facebook and the entity underpinning Libra, Calibra.
Having also suffered losses from its Libra Association — the likes of PayPal, Mastercard, Visa, Stripe and others all fleeing — the association has at least gained a member in Shopify.
“The Libra Association has not altered its goal of building a regulatory compliant global payment network, and the basic design principles that support that goal have not been changed,” said Dante Disparte, head of policy and communications for the Libra Association, in a statement.
Facebook said it “remains fully committed to the project.”
The new plan to try and welcome regulatory acceptance appears to be aimed at redesigning the digital wallet to be a more inclusive product while scaling back the work and features of the actual cryptocurrency. However, Facebook is hoping to release both Calibra and Libra at the same time, tentatively in October. Calibra will allow users to send and receive money — now in fiat currency — and make purchases.
This could work in the favour of Facebook as it would align Libra and the social media giant as a company looking to push FinTech boundaries, more than cryptocurrency ones. The Fintech space is of course far more regulated and provides more clarity, which would allow Libra to toe the line.
However, if this does mean a big scaling back on the cryptocurrency functionality, it will be a major blow for the evolution of innovation in the cryptocurrency space towards mainstream products. This was even noted by Senators in the US.