Facebook’s digital payments project is oh-so-close to getting off the ground.
Libra could launch as soon as January, per an FT report last week. The Geneva-based Libra Association, an FB-founded parent org with 27 members, is waiting on the go-ahead from Swiss authorities.
Launch day won’t be everything Facebook dreamed of
Libra will initially be one stablecoin tied to the U.S. dollar. Reminder: Stablecoins are pegged to fiat currency to avoid the volatility you’ve seen in your Coinbase account this month. Tokens tied to other currencies are coming—and so is a “digital composite” made up of all of FB’s coins. But they won’t launch in January.
In FB’s initial vision, Libra would be tied to a basket of currencies and the network nodes would be run by dozens of “Founding Members.” But FB pared down its ambitions following icy reception from U.S. policymakers, European finance ministers, and other officials.
- And some Founding Members, from Mastercard and Visa to e-commerce players, pulled out of the Libra Association just months after it was announced.
- All told, Libra’s launch date is running roughly one year behind schedule.
The Libra bull case: Digital payments functionality could work seamlessly across FB’s Marketplace or its integrated messaging apps. Shopify has signed on as a partner. And even a low adoption rate in a billions-strong social network isn’t peanuts. FB could also incentivize merchants to buy ads with Libra.