Technically and financially, Facebook could probably pull off such an ambitious undertaking on its own. But not politically. Its culture is less amoral than it was in its youth, when it aspired to “move fast and break things”—but only a bit. Chary consumers may choose not to entrust their money to a social network which has, until recently, leaked their personal data left and right. Unless users are on board, merchants may be reluctant to embrace the currency, however hassle-free.
Enter the Libra consortium. The association, to be based in Geneva, will take over from Facebook before the first Libra has been spent, and manage the hard-currency reserves. Facebook has enlisted 28 other prospective founding members out of an envisaged 100, each with equal voting rights and operating a node in a decentralised system which issues coins. They include financial firms (Visa, Stripe), online services (Spotify, Uber), cryptocurrency wallets (Anchorage, Coinbase), venture capitalists (Andreessen Horowitz, Union Square Ventures) and charities (Kiva, Mercy Corps)—though, for the time being, no banks. Not a libertarian alternative to the existing financial system, in other words, but a complement.
进入天秤币联盟。该协会总部位于日内瓦，将在第一批天秤币用完之前接管Facebook，并管理硬通货储备。Facebook从预计的100名创始成员中招募了28名其他潜在创始成员，每个人都拥有平等的投票权，并在一个发行硬币的分散化系统中运营一个节点。这些公司包括金融公司(Visa、Stripe)、在线服务公司(Spotify、Uber)、加密货币钱包(Anchorage、Coinbase)、风险投资家(安德森•霍洛维茨基金、Union Square Ventures)和慈善机构(Kiva、美慈)，不过目前还没有银行。换句话说，这不是对现有金融体系的自由主义替代，而是一种补充。
To add credibility to its promise, broken in the past, to keep social and financial data separate, Facebook has created a subsidiary, Calibra, to run Libra services within its apps. It is unlikely to face hurdles to uptake from Apple or Google. It is impossible to imagine them expelling Messenger and WhatsApp—and later other providers Facebook is inviting to the open-source project— from their app stores, as they have done with other cryptocurrency offerings, many of which were scams.
To get Libra going, the consortium will pay merchants to offer discounts to customers who use the new currency, financed by a $10m one-off fee each member pays for a seat at the table. Eventually, Facebook would like anybody, not just the consortium, to be able to generate the currency, transfer it and offer services on top of its “blockchain” (crypto-speak for the database that keeps track of who owns what). At that point, Libra would turn into Bitcoin, minus the kinks and the libertarianism.