Facebook’s cryptocurrency is finally getting its head out of the stars

Financial world domination may no longer be in Libra’s horoscope.


April 17, 2020

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Even Co-Star’s astrologers could have predicted this one. 

After regulatory blowback, Facebook is scaling back the most ambitious parts of its cryptocurrency project, Libra — namely, that bit where Libra would become a universal digital standard that unravels exchange rates.

According to the Libra Association — which is tragically not a secretive organization of September to October babies but, rather, the nonprofit group overseeing the project — the new currency is going to look a lot more like digital payments on a platform like PayPal. 

Instead of a universal coin backed by a mixture of currencies and securities, Libra will be split into a series of “stablecoins,” each of which is pegged to individual currencies. 

Please welcome the Libra B-team 

Heavyweights like Visa, MasterCard, and PayPal had abandoned the Libra Association over concerns it would destabilize the world economy, so Facebook has switched to teaming up with ecommerce platforms like Shopify.

Libra is still going forward, but the digital payment system will track with existing national currencies. That might make governments a bit less squeamish about the project.

A centralized digital coin that could make Zuck the world’s most powerful banker? Not so much. A slightly swankier version of Venmo that brings easier interchange between currencies? More likely.

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