Been there, in China, with Alipay. Absolutely no way for an EU person to pay with it: doesn't accept European phone number for sign up and since the end of 2018 one can not get a proper Chinese SIM with a passport.
Don't touch cash. That's the only fallback we have for outages, when someone is without data connection (ghasp!) or for scenarios where politics or decisions make it impossible for foreigners to use it, like above.
EDIT one additional thought. One of my technical issues with Alipay is that it requires data connection from both sides. With POS terminals it's only the seller who needs to have some kind of a phone line. In a foreign country, with the current state of roaming charges, this is a serious problem. I don't know if FB plans to address this issue.
EDIT2 responding to some comments - even if a foreigner could/can get a full Chinese SIM, for spending 2 weeks there the need for a second, dedicated SIM is an overkill and an additional, tricky round, especially if you're not going to a Tier 1 city. Even if you succeed adding foreign bank accounts and debit cards could get tricky if I understand correctly, but I never actually got to test it.
If you like democracy, you need a small, but resiliant grey zone. You need to allow a few people to take the risk of doing what's condamned. It's not sexy, but it's necessary.
Do not outlaw cash.
As much as I agree with you, cash is unfortunately already well on its way out: in many EU countries (Italy, France), cash transactions above 1.5k euros are illegal. For example, buying a car cash is illegal. The US won't be far behind, imho.
For small transactions (eg buying a loaf of bread), something flipped in small business owners minds: they used to hate plastic for small stuff, and I can increasingly feel that today, it's the exact opposite: people let out a small sigh of annoyance when they see you pull out your coins.
This is a freedom almost as important as free speech that's slowly and silently being choked to death by big govt and not a single so-called freedom fighter out there, be they on the left or on the right of the political spectrum is picking up on the significance of the issue.
EU intercharge cap (The Regulation on Interchange Fees for Card-based payment transactions) entered into force in June 2015  - it was probably that.
If we are to preserve and force the continual issuance of physical currency, this is one of those of annoyances, which needs to be tolerated. In a decade's time, cash as a concept will be even more eroded and probably well on it's way to being gradually phased out of acceptance/existence. In another decade or more, it will become quaint and start to evoke feelings of nostalgia, perhaps even undergoing a retro revival by getting used as an underground currency.
A crypto currency is a great complement to cash, not a replacement.
Reality would like a word with you.
I took my passport to a China Unicom shop in Beijing a few weeks ago, to get a SIM for a visiting relative. The process took about 10 minutes.
"Alipay is that it requires data connection from both sides"
No it doesn't. If I print out my payment QR code, you can scan it and pay me even if my phone is off. When I buy vegetables at the market, the vendors have their Alipay and WeChat QR codes displayed on stickers.
Some vendors have cheap bluetooth devices which announce the amount of each incoming payment, but most vendors trust the customer and don't bother to check whether a payment was made.
Tried to do the same in a tourist city (not a tier 1 city), beginning of May, didn't work. I wanted a full SIM, not a data only SIM though, which one did you get?
> No it doesn't. If I print out my payment QR code, you can scan it and pay me even if my phone is off. When I buy vegetables at the market, the vendors have their Alipay and WeChat QR codes displayed on stickers.
So the vendor (receiver) doesn't need connectivity, but you (sender) do, correct? That's the polar opposite of POS.
I'm curious - did you go to an official China Unicom store (i.e. owned and operated by China Unicom) or an independent retailer that happens to sell SIM cards?
"I wanted a full SIM, not a data only SIM though, which one did you get?"
A regular SIM with a voice+data plan.
You just got unlucky... I bought one recently at China Mobile (Shenzhen). They do ask for passport and it takes about 10 minutes.
That's fine for very small amounts like groceries in a market but this is very easy to cheat with a fake client app on the buyer's device.
Of course, I had a pocket full of cash, so didn't care, but a lot of people didn't.
I don't understand how you can both be concerned with the 'current state of roaming charges', yet think that getting a local SIM for a 2 week trip is 'overkill'.
I agree that it's probably harder to find the right place to buy a SIM in a non-tier-1 city, but you can probably Google it before you get there.
However, to get Alipay working you probably need a Chinese bank account. You can get one of those with your passport (even with a tourist visa) but I can understand if that seems like overkill for a 2 week trip :)
Nevertheless, if we contrast the situations in the US and China, they each have pros and cons for tourists:
- cash gladly accepted almost everywhere
- visa/MC accepted almost everywhere
- can't get a local bank account as a tourist (at least not easily)
- can't set up a local mobile wallet (PayPal or Venmo)
- tourist can get a bank account
- tourist can get a mobile wallet (after getting a bank account)
- some places don't accept cash
- many places don't accept visa/MC
So the US is a little more convenient for a tourist. You can get by fine without a local bank account or payment app.
This is not true.
I got a "proper Chinese SIM" and new bank account two months ago in Shenzhen. Both Alipay and WeChat pay work fine. Whole process took under two hours, including getting the sim and I had bank card in my hand by the end of it.
I'm asking because I have never been able to use Alipay at retailers or web sites outside China. When I tried to pay with Alipay at Uniqlo in Japan, the transaction failed and I received an SMS explaining it was because I don't have a Chinese national ID card.
> Question: How will you prevent fraud?
> Anwer: All accounts and transactions are verified, and fraud prevention is built in throughout the app. Accounts are verified with government-issued ID, so you know people are who they say they are. Facebook and WhatsApp account information are also used when available to verify identity and prevent fraud. Calibra also has in-app reporting and dedicated customer service. In the rare event of unauthorized fraud, you will receive a full refund.
How can they refund the money? Would that mean that they have full control on the currency? And if they do, doesn't that defeat the purpose of a blockchain?
The governments will love it because it allows for perfect surveillance, the people will love it because it makes international payments seamless, it can erase the predatory remittance business out of existence. If they can convince merchants to accept it, they can also improve on credit card UX.
I can understand the benefit of this from the standpoint that it will be essentially a global currency, which will reduce transfer times and just generally make it easier to send money, however I don't understand why a blockchain is involved. We already have similar solutions (Paypal, Transferwise etc), is blockchain just a way to market this thing?
Blockhain is a technical convenience - the Libra Association consists of 28 members. Everybody is more comfortable with money being stored on the public ledger rather than on a database server owned by Facebook. Blockchain is useful in cases where a collaborative/adversarial relationship exists between multiple parties. In this case this is regulators, governments, Libra association members and users. Blockchain keeps everybody honest, compliant and ensures data integrity.
It also removes some of legal responsibility from Facebook because they don't actually process the transactions themselves, it's peer 2 peer.
Not will, but can. I did a transatlantic SWIFT payment recently and it cost me $9 in correspondent bank fees. I did another one and it cost me $0 in fees. I did another and it cost $18.
In each instance, I was able to get a SWIFT trace by asking the emitting and receiving banks to provide this. I didn't get a receipt for the SWIFT fees correspondent banks charged, but I did get receipts for the bank fees at either end.
Banks do suck, and the payment networks also suck, but sometimes they can suck less.
But long and short I think is that people don't want to have the possibility of losing their wallet, meaning someone else needs to have authority over it. I dislike the slowness and transaction fees of banks, not the state backed security.
Refund is not necessarily reversing a transaction.
I consider it a moral imperative for developers to stop this. In fact I will probably make some comment like that at some point on their GitHub pages. Which I expect to be removed. But this is the good fight. It's what Star Wars is really about. Defeating the evil empire.
As to your second point, may I ask why you consider it a moral imperative for developers to stop this?
What could be a bigger achievement for an ad company than being able to track all transactions between its users and customers? That's why your payment account will be associated with your social account. What Facebook is doing here, it's providing a lower-margin (payment processing) service for free to grow its higher-margin (ad targeting) business.
Which every customer will give by agreeing with carefully crafted "Terms and Conditions".
Built in Rust. Interesting. Nice choice.
- White paper : https://developers.libra.org/docs/assets/papers/the-libra-bl...
- What's Next? : https://developers.libra.org/blog/2019/06/18/the-path-forwar...
- Moving Toward Permissionless Consensus : https://libra.org/en-US/permissionless-blockchain
I hope my country won't allow a currency controlled by a foreign company.
The power of companies is already influencing democracy in a bad way.
> it will be backed by a collection of low-volatility assets, such as bank deposits and short-term government securities in currencies from stable and reputable central banks.
> The assets in the Libra Reserve will be held by a geographically distributed network of custodians with investment-grade credit rating to provide both security and decentralization of the assets.
- They have GAS fees. (unlike say EOS which is free).
- Not sure how they will make accounts anonymous? Knowing an account lets anyone query the account balance?
- They will start with permissioned chain and transition to non permissioned
I would prefer a global payment solution that defaults to anonymity, or at least pseudonymity, especially when it comes to transferring small amounts of money, such as paying for groceries.
This requirement is nothing more on Facebook's part than defaulting to the lowest common denominator in order to harvest as much data as they possibly can.
For an example of a crypto payment system (though not crytpocurrency) that attempts to provide anonymity in a way that doesn't make governments unhappy take a look at GNU Taler.
Based on what I have read though, this digital currency isn’t really a crypto coin. The users are verified through government issued identification and it appears the coin is issued by a centralized system.
Seems like the companies invested into this system are trying to act like the Federal Reserve in the United States.
And how does this play with current financial legislation. Do they have a banking license?
And where is the blockchain stored?
Otherwise great news; I am looking forward to something that probably has a very good end-user experience compared to what else is out there.
Well I guess at this point they can pretty much force people to use the currency (by not giving any other payment options) since people are locked into their platform and won't leave no matter what Facebook do.
But they don't want to be controled by anything, or share the power, or make it fair, or good for humanity.
So they call it a cryptocoin, yet it's locked in and centralized.
I'm all for taking power from the bank, giving more power to the Silicon Valley is a terrible idea.
Edit: Well, it's up now!
> ReferenceError: requireLazy is not defined
That's generally how a refund works.
Did you have something else in mind?
I don't know much about Calibra, is it a public blockchain? Can anyone build a client to generate transactions and mine blocks?
We look forward to showing the world what we’ve been working on at MobileCoin when it’s ready.
Censorship resistant? NO
Fixed monetary policy? NO
Transaction fee market? NO
There's no point in FB using a blockchain for their digital payments network, other than touting it as a 'cryptocurrency'. A centralized or federated database is all they need.