Welcome to the 359, I'm Ben Fox Rubin.
And I'm Joan E.
Facebook's highly anticipated cryptocurrency called Libra, was officially announced today.
The new digital money could be used to send friends and family money, pay bills, or to buy stuff online.
To ensure Libra isn't as volatile as other cryptocurrencies, it will be backed by PayPal, Visa, Uber, Coinbase and others.
As well as global currencies and other investments, it's also expected to debut in the first half of next year.
So is this awesome?
We're talking about cryptocurrencies, again.
[LAUGH] And it's not because people are trying to like buy a new house or put all the money that they have invested into A new cryptocurrency>> Right?
yeah,the last Crypto Boom about a year and a half ago was basically because Bitcoin went up to almost $20,000 as each>>Right>> And everybody was just trying to go for the Gold Rush,go for the money grab>> This one.
This is interesting
In that it kind of promises everything that Bitcoin was supposed to do.
Before it got hijacked by all these ideas.
Like the investing whatever.
Drugs and so things like that.
Granted that could still happen.
The idea with bitcoin and a lot of crypto currencies was that this would be.
A global currency that would have very low cost attached to it that you would be able to use regardless of what country you're in, and just buy whatever you wanna to online, and that's kind of what Facebook is trying to do with Libra, and I don't know, should we be excited about it, I'm not even sure.
Well you pointed out earlier and I thought it was interesting that you notice that Bitcoin in terms of its value, that's the best thing you can do to look check like check the stock market on Cryptocurrencies is checking with Bitcoins and it's doing better and I think that's because it's sort of like a rising tide lifts all boats.
With a company as pervasive, and like planetarily ubiquitous as Facebook, it means that people are gonna get educated on what cryptocurrencies are, that they don't necessarily need to be
Scary or uncomprehensible.
And it'll make it easier.
It'll educate people and it'll also potentially just make cryptocurrencies more prevalent across the world.
Making transactions to do them That's the idea of this, right?
Is that you actually use this cryptocurrency for transactions, rather than speculation or whatever.
So eBay is added in as like one of the founding members of this new Libra association.
That's a nonprofit that's gonna be guiding this whole process.
They were specifically mentioning how you could in theory use Libra as a currency to buy and sell stuff on eBay.
The complication here that I'm still kind of trying to wrap my head around is is that there are already currencies available.
Like we've solved some of these problems already as far as like with credit card networks with the dollar which is widely accepted.
So, the question for regular consumers is do they really wanna use BitCoin, sorry, Libra, as opposed to some of these other things?
Obviously, BitCoin did not end up doing that, and that was for a variety of reasons.
BitCoin is just very volitile.
It's not as liquid as you would hope.
Like if you're going to try to buy something with BitCoin, sometimes the transaction doesn't actually go through for maybe half an hour or forty-five minutes afterwards.
If I'm trying to buy a salad, I don't want to wait forty-five minutes for the transaction to happen.
Right, but one of the things that Queeny Wong, our reporter, points out in her story is that maybe this could be a way for people, for the unbanked, to have greater access to those sort of networks that are already set up
Part are inaccessible to people that have bad credit you can't get a credit card if you have terrible credit.
That's not there's a reason that's because you're less likely to make good on your payments if you have terrible credit, but it does with With the pervasiveness of Facebook and the fact that Facebook is so prevalent especially in developing countries where that sort of like credit infrastructure maybe isn't as robust as it is in a place like the US or in Europe it might give people the ability to have more options for buying things online if they can do it with a cryptocurrency like this one.
Sure but is Facebook The right face to go forward with this thing.
They have a really bad reputation for a lot of reasons.
Are people gonna wanna trust them with their finances?
Plus, they're kind of stepping forward into a situation where Bitcoin and a lot of other Cryptocurrencies have been knocked for helping fund terrorism, helping fund drug sales.
What are the chances that Libra.
Would somehow be able to solve those problems?
Like are they gonna be able to fix those situations, too?
I don't know.
We'll have to wait and see, right?
To see how things turn out.
But given that there's like.
I mean you know about this more than I do.
Given that there's an association behind this.
That this has more of a potential for scale and also accountability than other crypto currencies, would you say?
So that at least works in it's favor.
Granted whatever you want to say about Facebook and how people trust it.
Facebook's usage hasn't, their monthly actives haven't gone down even in the last year and a half of their crises.
So it's not hurting people using Facebook.
I don't know if it'll hurt people using Facebook as their, something that holds their money.
Yeah, either way.
We're way over.
Four minutes by the way, but I do wana mention because we did say we're gonna talk about
Let's just do it really quickly I guess.
The Palm Phone is now unlocked.
Apparently, kids love it.
I don't get it.
The kids love it.
The kids love it.
But, if you wanna get a Palm Phone, it's 350.
$50 and it's really tiny, so it's terrible for watching YouTube, but go figure.
Anyway, if you wanna read more about these stories, check them out on CNET.
I'm Ben Fox Rubin.
I'm Joan E.
Thanks for listening.