Cue the endless tweet-storms and Medium posts and think-pieces! Here are some of the most important comments from regulators, blockchain experts, finance analysts, regulators, and Facebook executives themselves.
Bitcoin community on Facebook cryptocurrency
The crypto community is split over Facebook’s crypto announcement. Most were quick to point out it’s not a real blockchain, but they almost unanimously believe it will open the door for bitcoin and threaten traditional finance.
1. Ryan Selkis (Messari CEO) – Facebook’s Libra is a “gateway drug” for crypto.
2. Erik Voorhees (bitcoin pioneer and ShapeShift CEO)
“Zoom out for a second and realize how far this industry has come. The biggest companies in the world are now launching cryptocurrencies. BOOM.”
3. Andreas Antonopoulos (Bitcoin evangelist and educator)
“Is Facebook’s Libra a real blockchain? No. Will it compete against Bitcoin and truly open, public blockchains? Never.”
4. Tamas Blummer (Bitcoin developer)
“Trying to buy leadership in a cutting edge technology is very expensive and likely futile. I am pretty certain that this will be a very expensive failure, but a great door opener for Bitcoin.”
5. Shu Zu (Three Arrows Capital)
“I think there’s something punk rock and subversive about the Libra WP.”
6. Changpeng Zhao (Binance CEO)
“Facebook should accept bitcoin (and BNB of course) alone side [sic] Libra in the WhatsApp, Messenger, Facebook, and Instagram apps.”
7. Nic Carter (Castle Island Ventures)
“If Facebook can pull off this ambitious scheme, it accelerates the inevitable collapse of the long tail of sovereign currencies.”
8. Cameron Winklevoss
“Prediction: every FAANG company will have its own coin within 24 months.”
The twins also said there was no love loss towards Mark Zuckerberg’s crypto project.
“There’s so much pie to grow, I mean, at this point, we need to be frenemies.”
Mark Zuckerberg tried to convince us that Libra is private (it’s not) and decentralized (it’s not yet). While the project’s lead, David Marcus, promised it wasn’t a threat to bitcoin.
9. Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook CEO)
“It’s decentralized — meaning it’s run by many different organizations instead of just one, making the system fairer overall… This is an important part of our vision for a privacy-focused social platform.”
10. Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook COO)
“We’re not going to run this. It’s going to be an association not reporting to Facebook.”
11. David Marcus (head of Libra / Calibra project)
“Many want to pit Libra vs. Bitcoin. In my mind these two are not in the same category. BTC is a decorrelated (investment) asset. Libra is designed to be a stable medium-of-exchange. I have been, and remain a fan of BTC, but for very different purposes.”
Governments and regulators
Governments were not happy about the Facebook cryptocurrency plan. Members of Congress called for development to be stopped immediately while central banks were cautious. Only presidential hopeful Andrew Yang had positive words for Libra.
12. Bruno Le Maire (French finance minister)
“It is out of the question that Libra becomes a sovereign currency. It can’t and it must not happen.”
13. Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters (chair of House Financial Services Committee) – Called for a complete halt on Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency.
“Given the company’s troubled past, I am requesting that Facebook agree to a moratorium on any movement forward on developing a cryptocurrency until Congress and regulators have the opportunity to examine these issues and take action.”
14. Jerome Powell (Federal Reserve chairman) – Confirmed Facebook had come to the Fed for guidance, but he would have high regulatory expectations.
“There are potential benefits here; there are also potential risks, particularly of a currency that could potentially have large application.”
15. Mark Carney (Bank of England governor)
“We will look at it very closely and in a coordinated fashion. So open mind, but not open door.”
16. Elizabeth Warren (Democrat presidential candidate) – Warren shared a USA Today article about Libra and said:
“Facebook has too much power and a terrible track record when it comes to protecting our private information. We need to hold them accountable—not give them the chance to access even more user data.”
17. Andrew Yang (Democrat presidential candidate)
“The new Facebook-backed cryptocurrency Libra could be a big step for the hundreds of millions of unbanked around the world. Its use of the blockchain makes a lot of sense.”
Traditional financial analysts
Some of the most over-the-top rhetoric came from traditional analysts. Most agree that Facebook’s cryptocurrency will have a positive impact on the company’s stock. But almost zero have devoted much analysis to Libra or its blockchain directly.
18. Mark Mahaney (RBC analyst)
“We believe this may prove to be one of the most important initiatives in the history of the company to unlock new engagement and revenue streams.”
19. Jim Cramer – The outspoken CNBC presenter praised the move claiming, “the disenfranchised will welcome Mark Zuckerberg as a savior,” which seems optimistic.
20. Michael Levine (Pivotal Research)
“Facebook’s cryptocurrency could be more widely adopted than bitcoin.”
The Best Facebook cryptocurrency take?
I’ll leave you with perhaps the finest take on Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency.
21. Sarah Jamie Lewis (Open Privacy)
“Can’t wait for a cryptocurrency with the ethics of Uber, the censorship resistance of PayPal, and the centralization of Visa, all tied together under the proven privacy of Facebook.”