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Open Libra: An open platform for financial inclusion (openlibra.io)
139 points by yosoyubik 6 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 69 comments

The value in libra isn't in some novel technical concept. From what I have seen they made some ugly trade-offs to make the whole thing scale, invented their own not-state-of-the-art BFT algorithm and invented a new programming language for smart contracts that looks a bit saner than the EVM stuff.

The real selling point is the partnership with major payment services, CC companies etc. If it succeeds you might be able to pay with libra at every POS terminal and that would be huge. If the base layer is as permissionless as advertised that could even be used to build proxies that allow Bitcoin payments at every POS terminal.

The second interesting idea is the monetary basket backing it. That would take some control out of government's hands and would discourage overly reckless money printing since people would have a damn easy way of both detecting it (e.g. looking at the Libra/€ price) and opting out (buying Libra). If all big fiat currencies aren't stable enough even gold or BTC could be chosen as a backing asset.

If OpenLibra can't replicate this they have a totally worthless project, not much different from all the other altcoins out there.

>The real selling point is the partnership with major payment services, CC companies etc.

Well, about that:

PayPal pulls out of Facebook's Libra cryptocurrency: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/oct/07/paypal-pu...

Visa, Mastercard, Others Reconsider Involvement in Facebook's Libra Network: https://www.wsj.com/articles/visa-mastercard-others-reconsid...

Linking to a monetary basked is another idea borrowed from economics that is based on the less than accurate understanding there of how monetary systems actually work.

I suspect the reason other financial companies are withdrawing is that they´ve looked at the practical implications.

> Linking to a monetary basked is another idea borrowed from economics that is based on the less than accurate understanding there of how monetary systems actually work.

What do you mean? That's essentially how index-fund ETFs work. Is there a reason you think it's not suitable for a currency?

> looking at the Libra/€ price

But that's affected mostly by factors other than money supply?

> all big fiat currencies aren't stable enough even gold or BTC

BTC does not provide price stability. Hardly anyone quotes long term fixed prices in BTC, they quote them in USD/BTC spot converted prices. You can see this in how BTC has tracked up and down against the dollar across a huge range.

> But that's affected mostly by factors other than money supply?

That's a good point. I think the "mostly" is highly dependent on the rate of "money printing" and where exactly this money goes. But the Libra/Fiat rate might not be necessary anymore as an indicator once it becomes a useful indicator because of rising consumer good prices.

> BTC does not provide price stability.

If bitcoin gets adopted more widely and has a bigger market cap the volatility should go down. The supply shocks every ~4y due to the block reward halving are getting smaller too. But sure, a free market money will never be as stable as a currency with central bank interference. For me that's not a bug but a feature, it doesn't shield market participants from economic realities, so they can actually adapt.

The block reward halving shouldn't shock anything: it's perfectly predictable.

Btw, free market currencies can be much more stable than central bank currencies. See eg https://www.alt-m.org/2015/07/29/there-was-no-place-like-can...

What do you think is not-state-of-the-art about LibraBFT?

My main disappointment was that it's synchronous. Synchronous BFT algorithms seem like an old and already solved problem, with many already existing implementations. So I don't see exactly why you'd develop your own, especially since it's quite hard to get right. Maybe I missed some revolutionary performance increases back when I read the paper.

Imo async BFT algos are much more interesting since they can actually fit the attacker model of an open network like the internet. Nobody can give you any guarantees (in an absolute sense) about message delivery times and hops can arbitrarily delay your messages.

A bit off topic, in the list people are from "Singapore University". Which Singapore university are they referring to. Singapore has several universities none of them is named just "Singapore University"

I think you’re right on topic with this. They don’t inspire much trust to me now that I had a look into this. Apparently it’s one person that graduated at Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), at least according to their LinkedIn profile, however when I look at the page it seems that the entire SUTD endorses the project.

SUTD (I googled the names, took two seconds)

Yes googling the names provide the info, my point was more on the website. Saying just "Singapore University" could imply more prestigious university like National University of Singapore, which is not the case here.

So you're going to build Libra and market it under the same name with "Open" tacked on the front? Sounds like obvious trademark infringement. I'll bet they get a cease and desist before the week's over.

It's like selling hamburgers and fries at OpenMcDonalds. How is that not super confusing to the public?

Cryptocurrency community likes to label and market every fork, every iteration of these coins as a brand new innovation and celebrate so early.

Even I have zero sympathy for Facebook, their credibility on building tech is incomparable to this sort of opportunist movements.

The first reply to tweet #1 is

> Imagine how good this would be if Lucas hadn’t already exitscammed from his previous project in 2018?

Can somebody shed some light on that?

Another tweet below talks about ICOs https://twitter.com/alee/status/1181784770902016000

" My friends and I invested $1M in Lucas’ @wirelineio ICO in 2018

I haven’t heard from Lucas Geiger in months

Lots of false promises made by their advisor @zaoyang - such as @JUN_Omise would lead their marketing, @ethereumecf would be their investor "

I've never heard of Wireline before, but looking at the above tweet and a quick glance at their website (https://www.wireline.io) makes this whole thing smell like a team of amateurs running a scam. Why anyone would think it would be a good idea to dump a million USD into any ICO is beyond me.

hey hey it was me :)

1. they promised this would be ethereum community fund's first ever investment 2. they promised q2 2018 token release guidance 3. they promised jun hasegawa would mentor Lucas Geiger to lead a huge marketing campaign 4. they promised other investors were in the round: golem, augur, matt mullenweg, wendell davis, david lee (refactor), dhvc, hashed, qtum and others are investors. i never confirmed if they really were all invested, but this is what was marketed to me

since then - i simply cannot reach lucas geiger or the advisor sizhao, who was the creator of farmville and has a ton of followers on twitter for thought leader type posts. sizhao said he invested in wireline, but now the company denies he ever did. he has since blocked me and doesn't respond

Pretty good demonstration of why at least SOME regulation of the ICO space is a good idea.

again i take full responsibility for the losses. i invested with the selfish motive of making a return, for my personal benefit, and it didn't go as planned.

however, they did falsely market the investment to me and that is something i do feel is illegal and not okay

absolutely they're under the jurisdiction of the SEC as they took money from US citizens

For what it's worth, I'll take a tenth of the funding and promise to deliver just as much.

lol i don't doubt you

That's terrible. Good luck to you, hope you get your money back.


If you have records of these conversations can you not sue them?

i have all of the records, yes suing is definitely a consideration at the moment, the new ceo has promised to find middle ground / some sort of resolution after devcon

Do you think they will give you some money back? Do you think the token sale or SAFT are going to materialize into anything at all on the exchanges? In your opinion, are the SAFT deals just locked away forever with the invested funds slowly bleeding out?

i doubt i'll get anything back and also doubt it'll be worth anything on exchanges

yes, almost all safts are depreciating if not totally worthless assets

There was never any wireline ICO

"token sale" SAFT whatever it's all the same thing

a open platform for financial inclusion is running successfully for a decade now. It's OSS and you know the name already

It's a nice marketing twist, Libra but not managed by Facebook. Not sure that will be enough though.

Looming at the repo this is implemented in Rust, along with Libra itself. Nice to see Rust being used on a big oroject like this.

Facebook's implementation of Libra used Rust too.

Factually correct. not sure why this is being downvoted.


> Looming at the repo this is implemented in Rust, along with Libra itself.

It seems to be just repeating something from the comment it's a reply to (though it is worded unusually, so I may have misunderstood in the opposite direction).

> It's a nice marketing twist, Libra but not managed by Facebook.

It's not possible to do Libra (or any other pegged currency) without really, really deep pockets. This will be DOA if it gets any traction at all.

I didn't realise it was pegged. So agreed without deep pockets it will be difficult.

> I didn't realise it was pegged. So agreed without deep pockets it will be difficult.

I did a bit of research just to make sure I wasn't mis-remembering

> Libra would operate as a stablecoin. That means its value would be pegged to a basket of specific currencies and backed by assets denominated in those currencies. [1]

I'm sure FB has good employees, but so did the Bank of England. [2] I just don't understand decisions like this. ___

1. https://www.barrons.com/articles/facebook-libra-currency-wil...

2. https://www.thebalance.com/black-wednesday-george-soros-bet-...

Libra is pretty vague about how they would peg.

What's the connection to the GBP supposed to show? You can uphold a peg given the right setup, the pound just didn't have that. (And in this case, the British economy was better off with a cheaper pound.)

Eg balances in my bank account are very successfully pegged to cash. Similar the HKD has been pegged to the USD without much issue for a few decades now.

Rust is really big in the cryptocurrency space. It stated with parity and then spread to many others.

A misleading one because Libra is not managed by any one entity.

I'd rather see a state like California try to create their own crypto, make it mandatory that brick/mortar stores accept it, and add some FDIC type protection layer and then figure out a way to bake in guaranteed basic income. That would be world-changing.

It would need some centralization to ensure gamers don't double dip and get 2x benefits from the dole.

There have been a gazillion discussions on how to ensure single identity in a coin that has basic income baked into it, and as far as I can tell nobody has a good solution, some web of trust protocols are promising but still way early in being useful.

I think the only way GBI will ever work though is via some sort of crypto, waiting for the governments to enact anything will probably fail, and crypto being electronic it drives cost down even more (no printing of checks required - all automated).

What are you trying to accomplish?

If you want to pay people a basic income, then lets pay people a basic income. No need to sneak than in via the money we are using.

And why force shops to accept any currency? If anything, legal tender laws should be abolished.

(Though in practice, they don't have much bite most of the time, because the shop can just set the official dollar price for a banana at 1 Million USD, and give you a 'discount' if you pay in their preferred currency, be that Euro or Cowrie shells etc.)

FDIC was also a mistake, but let's not get there just now.

The thing is that the mechanics of how to implement a cryptocurrency are changing rapidly, and the most common cryptocurrencies still have major technological flaws, and I'd hate to see a state enshrine those flaws into law.

Proof-of-work has a bunch of issues surrounding electricity usage, transaction scalability, and latency. It's not acceptable for a commonly-used currency to take 11 minutes to confirm transactions, nor is it acceptable for it to use more electricity than Ireland to do so. There's a bunch of research on fixing this, from various proof-of-stake systems to new consensus protocols to Nano's precomputed proof-of-work to Iota's tangle. But none of them have the track record that Bitcoin does, nor do we know if they're secure under concerted attack, nor do we know whether they'll lead to eventual centralization of power and the ability of a few actors to rewrite the ledger. I'd like to see more experimentation in this space and some actual usage with special-purpose applications before it gets rolled out by fiat across the world.

The other thing I'd really like to see is automated central banking. I don't buy the "you never need a central bank; let's just have a deflationary currency!" arguments, but at the same time central banks have a lot of problems with measurement, fairness, and incentives. I'd love to see the whole institution replaced by a computer that automatically maintains stable prices by giving money to everyone to expand the money supply and sucking it out (taxation?) to contract it, which was Milton Friedman's original idea when he came up with monetarism. To my knowledge nobody's really building this, though, and it requires solving some thorny problems in how exactly you measure price levels.

that would be a pretty cool concept, but then you have to trust the banking authority, if all money is electronic, of course if you're not a criminal and if we don't have china-like social network in place it may be fine.

I think this could work, if all are taxed then all will feel more equal, the system could maybe funnel a little more $$ at the lower echelons of society than the upper's -- maybe have it simply raise networth's to some arbitrary minimum... make sure everyone has at least 1k in the bank at all times for instance to cover rent regardless of socio-economic factors.

We'd need to do away w/ cash though, or people could game the system by just withdrawing it all to appear 'poor'.

>> the most respected blockchains technologies such as Ethereum, Cosmos, Wireline, and Radicle / Oscoin.

The most outstanding thing about Etherium was the owner jumping the ship with the millions of real paper dollars. Him and the light coin guy. Now that was really impressive.

Wait, I remember the lite coin guy cashing out. Did Vitalik do the same thing?

>>Surveillance finance. One's ability to engage financially (e.g. borrow in Libra) will potentially be determined by their social graph and online activity.

Say what?

It's called Bitcoin.

How are they going to maintain the peg without the resources of Facebook/Paypal/Visa etc.?

If they won't then it doesn't really compete with what Libra aspires to be.

I fear someone not smart enough to think of "Libre Libra" instead, might not be smart enough to get it done

I don't recognize any of these team members as having made any substantive contributions to major areas in blockchain security or scaling; Having raised a lot of money in funding is not relevant experience here; Nor is building a few side-chains and inefficiently linking them together.

Reading between the lines here: the real message seems to be that a bunch of opportunist nobodies decided to get together to exploit Libras public image for their own benefit. It's the same pattern I've seen done many times over the years. "Hey, these people are really evil for being so wealthy. We of course secretly want to be wealthy too but we're totally different to they are." Then when you reach your goal you become the new "villain" for someone else and the cycle repeats.

Blockchain companies love to paint themselves as the hero. Completely outside the reach of regular politics or capitalistic desires. It's even been a popular launch tactic for a while now. Dark wallet did it to great effect; And every iteration of dark web market has done it since; You can even see it in the 'us' vs 'them' mentality inherent in most "decentralized" system design. Only, here the architects are the main influences and not the regulators... But lets be honest here: this group shouldn't be trusted any more than a normal, profit-seeking company. And I see no reason to believe this team could deliver a more secure or scalable cryptocurrency than any that already exists.

Tl; dr, gimme money and prestige plz.

Interestingly, the list of team members appear to have vanished from the homepage.

I thought we already had a ton of "open platforms for financial inclusion". They are called "cryptocurrencies". Like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Monero, Litecoin, etc.

(XLM) Stellar is an existing alternative.

What problem does Libra solve? What problem does this project solve better?

Facebook wants money, this makes them money faster than their other business.

If you want to present yourself as an alternative for FB's libra, this is way too cheap. Even the worst alt coins have a better website and more info.

> Our core team and community

I mean, how can anyone take this serious? The core team could easily be just 1 person in the list. And the 'community', are that some far relatives who said "yeah good idea!"?

The website is made within an hour or so, writing the text has taken longer for sure. This is a scam. Just some smart guys trying to launch and cash in on an alt coin that is a made up solution for FB's libra coin.

oh come on, the repository linked to from "contribute to our codebase" has one contributor and four commits!! ;-)

don't forget "follow our progress" -> link to twitter -> "Open Libra hasn't twitted yet". I wonder what are all those names listed on the website.

>This is a scam.

Maybe not. It could also be idealistic college kids who are underestimating the difficulty in launching a successful currency and don't understand that FB's reach and partnership with established processors is the primary reason anyone takes Libra seriously.

When you start with the premise that 99% of crypto is either an outright scam or what will eventually turn into a scam it is fairly safe to call this project a scam too.

No Thanks.

troll? fb will sue the shit out of this project just because of the name :D

Plot twist, releasing this was the plan all along and Facebook's failure was just marketing.

Meditate on who you want to control our financial future or create the first real one world currency. I sure as hell choose Zuckerberg dead last. I would rather a Kim Jung oom ffs. I will support Open Libra and anything that goes against Facebook

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