What Is Facebook’s Libra Coin? [Complete Guide]

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by Verolian Opiyo · 11 min read
What Is Facebook’s Libra Coin? [Complete Guide]
Photo: Shutterstock

Check out our complete guide on everything related to Facebook’s Libra Coin, its native blockchain, Calibra wallet, Libra Reserve, and more.

Libra cryptocurrency is a stable currency designed by Facebook on a reliable and secure open source blockchain, supported by a reserve of actual assets, and managed by an independent association. The Libra’s mission is a simple financial infrastructure and global currency that influences billions of individuals. As a result, it intends to achieve the promise of “the internet of money.”

Libra is composed of three parts that will function together to build a more inclusive financial network:

  •  It’s designed on a reliable, scalable, and secure blockchain.
  •  It’s supported by a reserve of actual assets created to offer it inherent value
  •  It’s controlled by the Independent Libra Association trusted with developing the platform

Libra has the capability to reduce the gap between the latest financial currency technology and traditional financial networks while lowering the charges for every individual, especially, customers. This is a massive opportunity for financial inclusion focusing on the fact that approximately 1.7 people have no bank account, and one billion have at least $40 phone that could perhaps support this system.

What is Libra Association?

What Is Facebook's Libra Coin? [Complete Guide]

Photo: Libra

The Libra Association is an independent, nonprofit membership organization located in Geneva, Switzerland. The purpose of the association is to harmonize and offer a structure for management of the system and reserve and govern social impact grant-making in support of financial inclusion. The membership of the association is created from the network of validator nodes that govern the Libra Blockchain.

Libra Association members will involve geographically distributed and different academic institutions, multilateral and nonprofit organizations, and businesses.

Basically, Facebook has so far brought all the best firms in every industry and gathered them together to work on this project. Now they have only 28 global businesses, but they plan to collect approximately 100 by the beginning of 2020 when they will introduce the blockchain.

To propel adoption, the Libra Association, which will govern the virtual currency, will assist in providing financial incentives to customers as well as merchants, such as free Libra for launching a wallet, or discounts on Libra payments for a business who accept the currency.

What is Libra Blockchain?

What Is Facebook's Libra Coin? [Complete Guide]

Photo: Libra

The Libra Blockchain is a decentralized, programmable database created to spur a low-volatility that will have the potential to become the medium of exchange for billions of population globally.

The Libra Blockchain is built from the ground up to efficiently settle these requirements and designed on the learning from present research and projects –a collection of innovative techniques and well-understood approaches. The three decisions that guide Libra Blockchain include:

  • Designing and incorporating the Move Programming language;
  • Utilizing a Byzantine Fault Tolerant (BFT) agreeable standard;
  • Acquiring and recapitulating on broadly acquired blockchain data systems.

“Move” is the latest programming language for executing “smart contracts” and custom transaction logic on the Libra Blockchain. Since the goal of Libra is to serve billions of people in a day, Move is built with high level of security and safety. Moves share awareness from security experiences that have occurred with smart contracts to date and design a language that makes it substantially easier to write code to achieves the author’s purpose, hence reducing the danger of security incidents or unintended bugs. Precisely, Move is designed to protect assets from being duplicated.

To initiate consensus among every validator node on the yet to be implemented transactions and the fashion in which they are implemented, the Libra Blockchain incorporated the BFT technique by utilizing the LibraBFT agreement protocol. This technique creates trust in the system, because BFT agreement protocols are designed to operate efficiently if about one-third of the system’s validator nodes fail or are compromised.

This category of agreement protocols also allows high transaction low latency, throughput, and a more energy efficient technique to agreements than “proof of work” utilized in specific blockchains.

Data on the Libra Blockchain is safeguarded by Merkle trees, which helps to store transaction. Merkle trees are a data structures utilized by other blockchains that allow the recognition of any changes to available data. Contrary to initial blockchains, which observe the blockchain as a collection of blocks of transactions, the Libra Blockchain is an independent data system that documents the history of transactions and indicates over time.

This execution eases the function of application supervising the blockchain, enabling them to read any data from any angle in time and authenticate the ethics of that data using a unified framework.

Libra Currency and Reserve

What Is Facebook's Libra Coin? [Complete Guide]

Photo: Libra

Libra is built to be a secure virtual cryptocurrency that will be entirely supported by a reserve of actual assets – the Libra Reserve – and backed by competitive structures of exchanges purchasing and selling Libra. In other words, any person with Libra has increased chances of assurance they can change their digital coin into traditional fiat currency focused on an exchange rate, similar to converting one currency for another when traveling.

Unlike the fiat currency, which is backed with gold, Libra digital coin will be backed by a combination of low-volatility assets such as bank deposits as well as short-term government securities, especially in currencies from reputable and stable central banks.

It is crucial to clarify that this indicates that a single Libra will not often be able to change into the equal amount of a given local fiat. In other words, Libra is not attached to a single currency. Instead, as the value or cost of the underlying assets change, the cost of a single Libra in any fiat cash may vary.

However, the reserve assets are being selected to reduce volatility; therefore, holders of Libra can trust the potential of the coin to restore value over time. The assets in the Libra Reserve will be supported by a geographically channeled network of holders with investment-grade credit ranking to offer both decentralization and security of the assets.

Interest gained on the reserve assets will be utilized to settle the charges of the network to ensure reduced transaction rates, pay dividends to investors who offered capital to begin the ecosystem, and assist further adoption and growth. The rules for distributing interest on the reserve will be set earlier and will be supervised by the Libra Association. Consumers of Libra do not acquire a return from the reserve.

What is a Calibra Wallet?


Photo: Shutterstock

Calibra wallet is a new mobile wallet, which tends to imitate the latest online payment and digital apps like Venmo. Calibra wallet is a Facebook’s regulated subsidiary, and it’s restricted by law to share any information or data with Facebook.

It will be available on WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, as well as a standalone app. The display automatically reflects payments and balance in fiat currency exchange rates. Any interest incurred by assets supporting Libra cryptocurrency will emanate to the operators of the network; hence, blocking users from earning interest on balances.

Calibra insists that it will adhere to the international guidelines for hindering terrorism financing or money laundering. The Facebook subsidiary also confirmed that it anticipates to eventually provide all kinds of other services such as public transit and paying bills similar to what Alipay or WeChat is doing in China.

For users with a bank account, the technique is similar to connecting any other financial account. Individuals with no account can join Calibra using an ordinary smartphone, and then load the account with cash or withdraw fiat cash from it through a legitimate distributor. Most likely, this could be something similar to a Western Union outlet or the same firm.

Partners of the Libra Project

The global social network and 27 other partners are touting the Libra virtual currency and Facebook’s corresponding mobile wallet, Calibra as a means to sending payments around the globe as easy as it is to send a text. The project which Facebook anticipate to launch in 2020 with 100 partners would be the most far-reaching experiment by the mainstream firm to venture into the world of cryptocurrencies.

What Is Facebook's Libra Coin? [Complete Guide]

Photo: Libra

The previous groups of organizations that will operate together on completing the charter of the association and become “Founding Members” upon its finalization are, by industry:

  • Payments: Visa, Stripe, PayU (Naspers’ fintech arm), PayPal, Mastercard;
  • Technology and Marketplaces: Technologies, Inc, Uber, Spotify AB, MercadoPago, Lyft, Farfetch, Facebook/Calibra,eBay, Booking Holdings;
  • Telecommunications: Vodafone Group, Iliad;
  • Blockchain: Xapo Holdings Limited, Coinbase, Inc, Bison Trails, Anchorage;
  • Venture capital: Union Square Ventures, Thrive Capital, Ribbit Capital, Breakthrough Initiative, Andreessen Horowitz;
  • Multilateral and Nonprofit organization and academic institutions: Women’s World Banking, Mercy Corps, Kiva, Creative Destruction Lab.

Why Is It Called Libra?

The term was inspired by the Roman measurement for a pound, once utilized to mint coins. The astrological symbol of Libra is the balance of justice, and its pronunciation sounds like libre, which is French for freedom or free. The terminology is a combination of freedom, justice, and money.

Is Libra Really a “Cryptocurrency”?

The answer is simple, Yes, and No. Yes, if you perceive cryptocurrency by how you approve payments or sign transactions – then, the Libra is a cryptocurrency. It relies on a consensus algorithm known as HotStuff, designed by VMWare. But if you perceive cryptocurrency focused on how the system is governed, then it’s perhaps not. Bitcoin enthusiasts, for instance, are unlikely to recognize the Libra a pure “crypto.”

From the perspective of network management, the Libra is somehow decentralized to begin. At the start, the Libra blockchain will be “permissioned network”, “indicating that only founding partners, who adopt Libra Investment Tokens different from Libra itself, will be able to secure and process transactions. But in case the network becomes “permissionless” as organized, any person is able to process the transaction, then from a technological standpoint, Libra would be closer to the cryptocurrency idea.

A permissionless network would hinder any organization or group of firms from holding a concentration of power or eliminating access to any others, but the hurdles to a permissionless structure are sharp. It’s challenging to attain speed and scale. Usually, the more nodes you incorporate to a network, the slower it becomes a clear hurdle for a cryptocurrency with international expectation.

The conditions, as well as security issues, have hindered many digital coins from succeeding as a practical option to fiat currency. If you evaluate how Libra might focus on merging with the IoT one day, an entirely permissionless network appears, well, extremely promising.

Is Libra Really a Facebook Coin?

Currently, Facebook tends to be the chief architect of Libra. However, the social media powerhouse is keen to distance indicate that the Libra Association will be accountable for accelerating the creation of the Libra Blockchain and governing the Libra Reserve. Libra Association hopes that its governance would be entirely decentralized, indicating that single validators or nodes that verify and safeguard transactions could freely register or unregister the blockchain system.

Facebook acknowledges its team played an instrumental duty in developing the Libra Blockchain and the Libra Association and will remain primary developer for the rest of this year. But in 2020, after the network launches, the social media giant will have equal governance rights as other founding members.

Do You have to Be on Facebook to Use Libra?

The primary goal for Facebook is financial inclusion for everyone. Therefore, it’s not mandatory to have a Facebook account to use digital coin Libra. Third parties ranging from Indian fintech PayTM, to Google, to startups, to nonprofits –will be able to design their own marketplaces, wallets, and apps around Libra. That’s the joy of an open-source payments network.

For those who are interested, you can utilize Facebook’s mobile wallet, Calibra, which is a regulated subsidiary. In the United States, Calibra is approved as a money service business and will be backed by the United States Treasury.

What Does It Mean for Cryptocurrencies Like Bitcoin?

Focusing on what currency duos become present on exchanges, cryptocurrencies that advocates privacy security may become highly favorable. Libra may indirectly cause a resurgence of Bitcoin holders as Facebook’s implicit endorsement of crypto increase interest, but there’s little to connect the duos materially.

Libra and the Bitcoin are fundamentally distinct due to the Libra Association and Libra’s reserves. Ideally, there’s a location in the planet for both of them, but at its primary focus, Bitcoin remains a highly speculative asset.

When Will It Be Available?

The entire project will be fully ready by 2020. But meanwhile Calibra subsidiary will provide little more than a wallet to hold and spend Libra. When Libra is launched next year, the aim is to make the mobile wallet available to the billions of individuals who have accounts with WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.

Libra is Backed by a Basket of Financial Assets. What Does It Mean?

Libra crypto is backed by a basket of financial assets known as Libra Reserve offered by node operators. In its previous release planned for 2020, Libra will be supported by assets denominated in four fiat currencies: GBP, JPY, EUR, and USD. This could make it cost effective and simpler to transact cash across borders including paying for online products.

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