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Libra Core (github.com)
94 points by dfischer 35 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 50 comments

Good to see another big one embracing Rust.

Interesting to note that their smart-contract language Move [1] also borrows from Rust:

> Move’s bytecode verifier uses a “borrow checking” scheme similar to Rust to ensure that at most one mutable reference to a value exists at any point in time.

[1]: https://developers.libra.org/docs/assets/papers/libra-move-a...

Another surprise from IO was that the new ChromeOS sandbox infrastructure is written in Rust.

What I still don’t see here is a compelling use case which would make a critical mass of users say “this is demonstrably better for me than the existing payments system.” All I see from my perspective as a potential user is I can do what I can already do with dollars except I lose the interest on the deposits I make to buy Libra.

The value isn't for you; it's for Facebook and the participating financial institutions. They gain perfect visibility into your spending.

I guarantee you that this will not have the perceived level of anonymity that Bitcoin and other cryptos share. The publicly visible ledger may not reveal who you are, but Facebook and its partners will know.

It’s Facebook credits [1] rebooted. This time attached to a better adoption meme, cryptocurrency. Many will port their feelings around Bitcoin to Libra. That gives the latter a beachhead.

[1] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Facebook_Credits

Yes but if we are honest 95% of the positive "feelings around Bitcoin" are for capital appreciation/speculation or at least a hedge against perceived government fiat dilution which are not relevant in a stable-coin context. The remaining 5% who value a decentralized system outside of anyone's control won't come to a corporate Facebook led system. I don't think many anarchist types wake up thinking "man do I distrust Jamie Dimon but that Zuckerberg fellow is the bee's knees."

Might be of interest in countries where people are right now using for example different mobile wallet solutions to make payments. So countries were credit cards are not common and people do not hold regular bank accounts.

Related to that above, maybe then also cross-border payments. For example migrant workers sending money back home.

Quick Googling shows a report from 2017 which says in summary "About 1.7 billion adults remain unbanked—without an account at a financial institution or through a mobile money provider. " https://globalfindex.worldbank.org/

This could introduce some more competition into cross border payments like remittances although by the time the regulatory overseers get comfortable that it won’t be used for money laundering/terrorist finance/etc... you will end up basically replicating the frictions and barriers of the existing payment system.

I can see a use case.

I'm Whatsapp-ing my son who is a student, and he tells me he needs money. A button pops up onto the screen saying "Give Michael $50".

I click the button and the transaction is done.

With our marketing hats on we like to talk about what we can do with "one click".

I've personally never seen a one click system in my life - this could actually be one, and for one of the most fundamental and valuable human activities - paying someone.

> A button pops up onto the screen saying "Give Michael $50".

You don't need a cryptocurrency for that...

Nope you don't, it's just a tool allowing the world's biggest Bank ever to open its doors.

I'm sure there is a market for that functionality. But is it something you'd really want? Would there be limits on how much you could request from someone? Would bots spam everyone on earth requesting $50? Do you have to maintain a list of who can and cannot request money from you? It just seems like there would be a lot of headaches with that system.

> Would there be limits on how much you could request from someone?

Why? Are there limits on accessing your own bank accounts IRL?

> Would bots spam everyone on earth requesting $50?

No. Facebook would not allow that to happen. They control their user base with a tight fist when it affects their own revenue (user privacy less so).

> Do you have to maintain a list of who can and cannot request money from you? It just seems like there would be a lot of headaches with that system.

Why bother? Yes it could be uncool behaviour to request money from people, especially if the request had some social pressure around it.

But people can (and do) already behave in uncool ways on Facebook and the world goes on.

The potential revenue from being a money pipe would motivate Facebook to effectively deal with all of these problems.

Don’t we already have Venmo for this?

Yes - but as far as I know you would have to go into the Venmo app, and I think that's the difference.

Quick Edit - I think Apple Pay can function this way via FB messenger?

You can do this today in both messenger and messages yeah.

I can send and receive money immediately abroad from clients, to friends and family, and to buy things. I can make more reliable, unhackable, contracts. I will potentially be able to do financial stuff with less bureaucracy and legal hurdles.

The point for Facebook is chiefly to compete with Apple Pay, along with capturing more user data.

The point for Visa et al. is to A) hedge their bets against possible long-term disruption from crypto in a safe, centralized manner, and B) to attack crypto head-on by satiating the curiosity of those who may want to dip their toes into the water, creating a walled garden that no one bothers to peek over.

The point for the user is to... umm...

What about countries where it’s not safe to carry dollars or there is minimal banking infrastructure? (eg see https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/M-Pesa)

They often don't have a minimal internet infrastructure.

So purely virtual payment methods will be hard to use.

Often have SMS infrastructure which Libra supports

When you consider that

1. validators are hand picked 2. "To execute transactions, each validator must know the global state of the latest version of the blockchain's distributed database."

it looks like blockchain doesn't offer much additional value over a few replicated Postgres databases.

I can't wait for the new wave of spam that tells me that they have access to my Linux computer using Outlook, or RDP, and that all I need to do for them to not release my d* pics is to send them some Libra Coins. Since FB will make it easy for everyone to get the coins, "hackers" will no longer have to explain how to get bitcoins.

Will FB dogfood it by paying their employees in Libra?

According to this news report, https://www.cnbc.com/2019/06/05/facebook-cryptocurrency-comi... yes some employees will be paid in company scrip.

We are heading to a world where the US Federal Reserve is preparing people for the idea of negative interest rates in the next recession (see https://www.frbsf.org/economic-research/publications/economi...)

The "vig" for supporters of Libra seems to be that they capture the interest on money used to purchase Libra. In a negative interest rate world that breaks down. Moreover if the Fed wants to have meaningful negative interest rates you need to impose a haircut on non-bank deposits (i.e., cash or crypto) to avoid hoarding.

I am curious how this platform incorporates the possibility of a negative interest rate environment.

So, how is this: Store money in Bitcoin, and when it needs to be sent, change to Libra and send?

It seems like it has the table-stakes features without anything new. And certainly not anything ethereum or a handful of other crypto's don't already offer.

They're capitalizing on existing concenpts, there's hardly any innovation here. The only novelty factor is that now you can run smart contracts on a stable coin, which is not possible with the existing stable coins in the market.

As far as I can see, the inclusion of a turing complete gas limited language makes it possible to do some of the things you can do with ethereum: Creating your own tokens, possibly creating a distributed exchange / order book. But only much faster and presumedly cheaper since blockchain is kept only on a few nodes and there is no expensive proof of work. Will be fun to see what comes of this.

Looks like its not a blockchain at all, there is no Proof-of-Work or Proof-of-Stake, instead validators. Skimmed over documentation, consensus protocol seems to be BFT, like Stellar (XLM). So, they did not even innovate anything in cryptocurrency space. Just re-write, re-implement, re-hash old ideas with their name on it.

So not really distributed, just slightly decentralized. Zuckerercoin.

You replied to a thread that I created over a month ago about climate change [0], and I somehow never saw your reply. It's old enough that I can no longer respond to your comment, but I'd like to get in touch with you if you're still interested. My email's in my profile.

Sorry to respond to you on an unrelated thread -- I don't know how else to get in touch since comments are disabled on the original thread.

[0] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19908974

What matters is the implementation; if they can put the following together:

- Fully programmable smart contracts

- Fast cheap transactions

- Easy onboarding

- Default support for fiat currencies

- Nice end-user interfaces

Plus a strong push to their existing user base and a number of established businesses.

But it will be fun to see what comes out of this and what is allowed. I for sure look forward to create a ponzicoin and a casino that my mum easily can use ...

If there's any truth behind the stories of Bitcoin seeing widespread use (purchased, not mined using subsidized electricity) as a store of value in countries in the grips of hyper-inflation, surely a coin which is pegged to a basket of currencies and easily purchased through the Facebook messenger app would see even greater adoption.

That said, I absolutely hate the idea of Facebook as a fintech platform and really don't look forward to being forced to maintain an account just to easily send/receive money once the network effects take hold.

If I'm not wrong giving a quick read to the website is like a FIAT currency, but instead of a Country Government is backed and controlled by a network of private independent (and sometime competitors) corporations. May not be a bad idea but can degenerate to a centralized currency if the controlling corporations shrink in number.

Facebook started simple, and then started prioritising engagement(thus conflict/noise).

I wonder what would be the analog for coin. Start as a medium of exchange, then start usurping national currencies. Nations would not be able to legislate them away, as business and citizens would be conducting cross and intra border commerce using libra.

This is already centralized.

The governance and distribution is hand picked.


And they don't even mention the assets or government/banks chosen for backing, just "highly liquid".

So much for transparency.

Honestly. This looks like a major contribution to the cryptocurrency space. I am impressed.

There's literally not a single innovation or contribution here. I just skimmed through the paper and there's not a thing there. It's a cut and paste from existing concepts.

I think this is sarcasm

Pegged centralized currencies have existed for years.

Not sure how they're going to overcome KYC/AML.

You’re asking how Facebook, the largest surveillance machine in the history of mankind, is going to avoid Know Your Customer?

They collect personal ID scans already everywhere, and Paypal also (at least for me) worked simply by using a verification 1-cent transaction to my bank account.

Well they'll already know everything about you...

oof, Libra translates to Pound(£). Imagine the confusion.

Yeah, a bit annoying given that Facebook must have been aware and they could have changed a single letter somewhere to avoid it.

But I guess they assumed that languages are pretty good at dealing with this sort of thing, and we'll end up with something like Libras Británicas and Libras Electrónicas/Libras de Facebook. Or better yet, Libras Falsas

I don't trust FB with anything. They've been banning various groups, including conservatives. Why would I risk my money with them? I don't want to one day discover I can't pay because I made some comment online that disagrees with their politics.

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