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Can we trust Facebook's Libra cryptocurrency? | The Stream

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Just fifteen years ago Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook from a college dormitory in Massachusetts, beginning a dizzying rise to its current position as the world's ubiquitous social media network.
Now Facebook is on the verge of launching a new cryptocurrency called Libra.

Libra is being touted as a global currency that will allow individuals to make instant transactions through approved apps, underpinned by secure “Libra blockchain" technology. Major companies including eBay, Mastercard, Visa and Vodafone are backing the Libra currency, which will be pegged to a reserve of 'real' currencies such as the US dollar and Euro.

The private firms forming the membership of the ruling Libra Association say Libra will be “a simple global currency and financial infrastructure that empowers billions of people”. But critics have sounded a note of caution about Libra. They say the currency may be attractive to those involved in illegal activity and money laundering, as well as those looking to evade taxes and financial sanctions. Even Facebook's co-founder Chris Hughes is among those concerned that Libra will essentially be self-regulated by powerful private companies in thrall to their shareholders.

We'll ask whether Libra signals liberation or over-reach by Facebook.

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