An announcement rocked the tech and astrology worlds this week: Facebook is developing a blockchain-based currency that can be used throughout the platform for e-commerce, the world over. The name? Libra.
To acquire Libra, users need to work through a nonprofit, Geneva-based Facebook subsidiary called Calibra—see what they did there with the suggestion that the currency is calibrated to real monetary value?—and show government identification; this is meant to discourage use of Libra for illicit purposes, as is common with traditional blockchain-based currencies. Libra is also unlike Bitcoin in that its price will supposedly be held constant—impervious to speculators (though Bitcoin prices did jump at the news).
It’s fun to think about what this technology could allow Facebook users to do. From easier inter-country commerce or money transfers (for example, from the US to overseas family members), to facilitating new peer-to-peer transactions (a la Venmo), this is big news. And just imagine a marketplace of sorts for brands to directly bid for and pay influencers around the world, or how much simpler it’ll be for my parents to pay people to be my friends! This currency has the potential to shake up all manner of transactions.
Libra was a Roman unit of weight and the forerunner of the pound—associations which tie nicely to Facebook’s usage. Libra of course is also a zodiac sign, with those born under it said to appreciate balance and harmony—as represented by the sign’s scales. This evokes fairness and precision, which are great messages to counter perceptions that a blockchain-based currency might be rigged or speculative.
Lastly, Libra gets quickly to liberty and freedom—a heartening and exciting feel for a name if there ever was one. (For the record, it also subtly suggests Lira, the former Italian and current Turkish currency.)
In short, Libra is succinct, evocative, modern, meaningful, and nuanced all at once. What more can you ask for? Well, there is one thing. Please share this blog on Facebook!