Facebook’s Libra Gets Its Clones Before It’s Even Released

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by Teuta Franjkovic · 3 min read
Facebook’s Libra Gets Its Clones Before It’s Even Released
Photo: Shutterstock

The early-access code for Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency hit GitHub two weeks ago and critics and trollers have taken their aim at the project that has been saved or “starred” by close to 10,000 users.

A code for the early access on Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency didn’t really fell on the fertile ground when talking about one of the biggest software development platforms GitHub. Two weeks ago this was the main discussion with the critics and wannabe trollers who have taken aim at the project.

The project on GitHub has been saved or “starred” by close to 10,000 users, signifying an early wave of interest among open-source participants. Moreover, around one thousand clones of the codebase have been created and not just that but, wannabees also went to experiment with Libra’s code.

Some of the “fakers” went on to play with the code went even further. They were actually adding features that they had previously found in cryptospace – meaning Bitcoin. Saying that we already can see, that these efforts weren’t meant to be serious.

Take “Libra Classic” for example. The creator of this, as he calls it, joke, Mikko Ohtamaa, admitted that his effort was “a complete troll” and meant to be taken as a joke. The truth is that it is really too early. Nobody has seen this outside of the Libra, Calibra, and Facebook team before.

On the other hand, Albert Castellana, chief product officer at cryptocurrency startup Radix DLT, said that there have been no real code flaws submitted so far. Most of them have build issues or typos, and then this is a fertile ground for the critics who then point out that this is not a decentralized solution.

If we look at this from the beginning, Libra is designed in the way that a group of 28 founding members is responsible for validating transactions and appending new blocks. At the same time, Facebook is expressing hope that the network will grow to be more decentralized over time.

If we compare it with Bitcoin, maybe the biggest difference stands when it’s about usage. For now, Libra still hasn’t been released, and you can not use it. When the time comes, if it’s to believe the announcements it will be in 2020, that digital currency will be used for purchases and trades on Facebook, WhatsApp, and other applications that Facebook owns.

Other supporting websites will potentially come on board at that time, most likely members of the Libra Association, but that still hasn’t been officially confirmed.

Several community members in the cryptocurrency space have directly criticized the permissioned structure of the Libra blockchain not just on social media but on GitHub by nitpicking through every detail of the Libra code.

Last few days, around 160 issues have been flagged with the Libra codebase. Over 100 of them have been closed by authenticated users of the codebase, with a handful of these additionally marked as “off-topic.”

GitHub user “gazhayes” wrote:

“I’ve discovered an alarming vulnerability, but fortunately there’s a really simple fix…This problem can easily be solved by using a permissionless system where the hard power is decentralized across a very large number of participants.”

The pull request was closed and the resulting conversation was marked off-topic by the official Libra GitHub administrator, which led to complaints by those who characterized gazhayes’ post as a legitimate remark. Tech lead for Calibra, Ben Maurer commented:

“We’re really cognizant of the fact that this is a transformative effort and that we need to build a community around it. But having discourse doesn’t mean the lack of moderation. Off-topic conversations detract from fruitful ones. The thread on #83 was not productive and would have tied up moderation resources.”

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