What Does Facebook's Token Mean For SelfKey?

Facebook's Libra Project continues to grab the headlines and in this post we discuss the potential impact it could have on SelfKey.
18 Jul 2019
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In June 2019, Facebook announced Libra: A global stablecoin and blockchain designed to facilitate international payments through the power of the internet. 

Since then Libra has captured the headlines, with regulators and members of Congress falling over themselves to condemn it; while the Libra team battles to get their PR spin out to the masses.

In our review of the Facebook token we expressed serious doubts whether Libra would ever launch. It seems clear that AML and antitrust concerns are currently too grave to allow the project to launch unless wide-ranging changes are made. 

That being said, we should seriously consider the impact a successful Libra project would have, not just on the blockchain space but on SelfKey specifically. There is enough evidence to suggest that Libra could have a significant positive impact on SelfKey in the years to come. 

Let’s take a closer look. 

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Facebook Promises Interoperability With Other Wallets

On the 16th of July, Facebook Executive David Marcus appeared in front of a Senate Committee to answer questions about the proposed digital currency Libra. 

The two hour hearing is worth watching in its entirety but a few moments stand out. At the 50 minute mark, Senator Warner asks Marcus to clearly state whether Calibra, Facebook’s Wallet, will be interoperable. 

Marcus replies: “The network is interoperable meaning that people who are using the Libra network from within WhatsAPP will be able to send and receive from other Wallets that are not Calibra Wallets.”

He goes on to say: “If you are asking whether other wallets will have full interoperability [...] the answer is yes.“

For SelfKey this is excellent news for two important reasons:

  1. A growing SelfKey community - Facebook’s 2.3 billion users will be introduced to the concept of cryptocurrency and may well start performing transactions. By significantly lowering the barrier to entry, the average consumer will find blockchain technology far more accessible than they do today. As consumers become more sophisticated they will begin to notice the failings of the Calibra wallet and privacy concerns will start to bother them. At this point some percentage of Facebook users will begin looking for alternatives and the SelfKey wallet is perfectly positioned to cater to privacy-conscious cryptocurrency users. Even if only a fraction of Facebook’s gigantic user base turns away from Calibra, the number of SelfKey Wallet users could grow significantly. 
  2. More value for SelfKey users - The SelfKey ecosystem is continuously growing and the upcoming bank accounts marketplace will add even more value to the Wallet. SelfKey users can already open a business abroad using KEY and will soon be able to register with a cryptocurrency exchange, as well as open a bank account. Interoperability works both ways, meaning that SelfKey users should be able to send transactions via the Libra network once it launches. This will add additional value to our ecosystem and allow more seamless transactions for SelfKey and Facebook Wallet users. 

Clearly, Libra could introduce a vast number of users to cryptocurrency and would help them understand the value of a frictionless, cross-border payments solution. 

Once familiar with these concepts however, many will begin to understand the dangers associated with the centralization of power in the hands of Facebook. 

Libra Highlights Important Privacy Concerns

Facebook’s biggest ever Ad campaign said: “We’re sorry” and came as a direct response to the litany of mistakes which exposed user data. We’ve put together a short post detailing Facebook’s worst privacy abuses, and these concerns are exacerbated by the Libra project. 

Exposing Facebook account data is one thing. Exposing financial information like private keys however is quite another, and Facebook’s terrible track record does not inspire confidence. In fact, the Senate Committee hearing referenced earlier, highlighted the need for Libra to uphold the highest privacy and consumer standards for its users. 

Whether it succeeds or not is yet to be seen, but we can be sure that more people will start to appreciate the value of privacy. In a world in which multi-billion dollar corporations sell our data to the highest bidder, solutions which value privacy and empower individuals will become increasingly sought after.

Libra and Privacy Google Trends

From the Google Trends graph shown above, we can see that interest in the term “privacy” started increasing rapidly just as interest in “Libra” spiked. This suggests that the Senate hearings have helped raise awareness around privacy and its importance for the average consumer. 

SelfKey’s mission is to give individuals control over their data and allow them to participate in a modern, digital economy without forfeiting ownership over that data. As privacy concerns increase, so will the recognition that the SelfKey team is doing very important work.

Final Thoughts On Libra

As mentioned in the introduction, it seems increasingly unlikely that Libra will launch anytime soon. Regulators around the world have raised grave concerns with Facebook’s newest venture and significant changes will have to be made. 

Nevertheless, it’s encouraging to see that - if successful - Libra could also have a positive impact on the blockchain space. David Marcus’s testimony confirming that third party Wallets - like Selfkey - will enjoy “full interoperability” opens an array of exciting opportunities for growth. 

Additionally, Libra is arguably blockchain’s first introduction to the mainstream and has the potential to attract hundreds of millions of people to this fascinating and disruptive technology. 

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