China May Release Libra Competitor Before Facebook Launches It, Report

Bitcoinist August 22, 2019
Updated 2019/08/22 at 7:46 PM
4 Min Read

Facebook’s Libra may be facing multiple threats from regulators, but the same critics are now racing to beat the social media giant at its own game.

Experts: Chinese Libra May Come First

The US, China and European Union are all concerned about Facebook’s digital currency. According to fresh reports, however, it is China which is now looking to release its own competitor before the Libra currency itself debuts.

As local English-language news outlet China Daily revealed on August 20, unnamed experts consider it increasingly likely Beijing will put its central-bank digital currency (CBDC) to work first.

“Experts predicted that if things go well, the Chinese government-backed digital currency may come out earlier than the official launch of Libra,” the publication wrote.

That official launch remains vague. Facebook is unable to set out a timeline before it appeases global regulators, something executives say they are committed to doing.

China has taken a unique stance among world powers by aiming to compete with Libra. Earlier this month, the deputy director of the country’s central bank confirmed the CBDC was technically almost ready for issue.

Previously, the central bank had publicly voiced worries over Libra, inasmuch as it could be pegged to the US dollar and involve overwhelming participation of US finance firms.

The network’s potential node operators, who say they will pay $10 million each to be involved, include PayPal, Visa and MasterCard.

The Sea Of New Competitors

Outside government, meanwhile, the trend to ‘be’ Libra before Libra even exists has captured the imagination of businesses.

Cryptocurrency exchange Binance is among the players saying they will launch an analog to Facebook’s offering. Binance will create a project called Venus, a blog post confirmed this week.

Even Erik Finman, the world’s youngest Bitcoin millionaire, has revealed an option, in the form of Metal Pay, which he claims will both “kill” Libra and take traction away from the cryptocurrency that made him his fortune.

“We want to be the digital bank for the world,” he announced in an introductory video to the platform, which launched August 19.

The Bitcoin community, instead of arguing Bitcoin fulfils Libra’s remit, remains cautious. Speaking to CNBC, Coinbase CISO Philip Martin said it was simply too early to determine anything about Libra in the real world.

“From our perspective, Libra has the potential to bring cryptocurrency to a billion people, because of the folks that are involved,” he explained.

“I think that while the potential is there, it’s really too early to be talking about the technical implications of the coin, their protocols and the currency, because it’s still under development.”

What do you think about China beating out Libra? Let us know in the comments below!

Images via Shutterstock

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