CEBU

Libre: Libra Association

Seriously now

AS EARLY as Dec. 28, 2013, I wrote in this column about the “Bitcoin Frenzy,” calling on governments to “override the (e-currency) system, if only to protect the public from being engulfed into a monetary black hole.”

I followed this up in a subsequent piece on Dec. 8, 2017 with a more specific call to action: “If cryptocurrency is to become ‘the way of life,’ then it must be founded on a solid platform that is regulated by governments, if not a world body. The United Nations (UN) General Assembly may as well agree to the establishment of the World Cryptocurrency Bank that should govern, regulate and promote a universally acceptable digital money.”

But neither the UN nor central banks heeded this voice in the wilderness. With the lack of regulation on cryptocurrency, bitcoin scams have proliferated.

The Balance, an authoritative website, provided a list: fake bitcoin exchanges, ponzi schemes, fake crypto-currencies, and malware.

Enter: The Libra Association, a non-profit institution that aims to govern cryptocurrency.

On Oct. 14, 2019, 21 companies (including Uber, Lyft, Spotify and Vodafone) signed in as charter members during the association’s inaugural meeting in Geneva. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg is the primary mover of Libra. He has since kept Facebook at a distance, opting for a separate and independent organization, as politicians continue to harass FB on the issue of protecting users’ privacy. It is the intention of Libra to make cross-border payments easier for users. If it is to succeed and overcome opposition from governments, Libra should put in place safeguards against anti-money laundering, among others.

The formation of Libra can be compared to the beginnings of the Red Cross and the United Nations. The latter two were established as a matter of necessity; so is Libra. Technology today has advanced so speedily that the processes of governments and world institutions have become archaic, if not obsolete. Cryptocurrency is the future. If governments and institutions like the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and the United Nations do not embrace the digital reality, then somebody has to do it.

The Libra Association knows the political and regulatory obstacles ahead; but I guess those behind it are in for the long haul.

After the formality of its establishment, among its first public statements was that they would not start trading or accepting deposits for Libra until they satisfy US regulators’ concerns.

I foresee the Libra Association as the governing body of cryptocurrency. Mark my word.


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