The writing is on the wall that Mark Zuckerberg has completely botched the planned Libra rollout. Even if the digital currency ever sees the light of day, it’s not likely to be within Facebook’s own timetable of 2020. And the coin already has a stigma attached to it thanks to the shellacking that Congress gave David Marcus, Zuckerberg’s wingman.
Ben Mezrich, the author of “Bitcoin Billionaires,” believes that Libra would have had a much better shot if Facebook wasn’t at the wheel, telling CNBC;
“I think that Amazon could pull this off. Because for whatever reason, we all trust Amazon. We put our credit cards in there every day…Regulators would be on them, but it wouldn’t be like this.”
— Ben Mezrich (@benmezrich) July 18, 2019
A Matter of Trust
Billy Joel said it best when he sang “A Matter of Trust.” That’s really what it comes down to in financial services, and Mezrich is right. People trust Jeff Bezos far more than they do Zuckerberg. But should they? Amazon doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to privacy, either. The e-commerce giant has admitted to holding onto private conversations on its Echo/Alexa robot. Earlier this year, Amazon told the U.S. Senate:
“We retain customers’ voice recordings and transcripts until the customer chooses to delete them.”
Ouch. Might as well put Google in charge of Libra, they couldn’t do any worse, either. The point is, cryptocurrencies are meant to be decentralized, not controlled by any one individual or company. Besides, Jeff Bezos is busy trying to create a transportation system to space.
If any tech entrepreneur should launch a cryptocurrency, it should be Elon Musk or Jack Dorsey. At least both of them keep a pulse on the crypto community. They probably both believe that bitcoin is genius and wouldn’t try and reinvent the wheel, which is what Zuckerberg seems to be trying to do.
Winklevii Laughed at Libra
There have been mixed reports on how Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, who are the subject of Mezrich’s book, perceive Zuckerberg’s Libra. A billion dollars later and while they may have let bygones be bygones, they haven’t forgotten. Mezrich told the business network that their first reaction to Facebook’s Libra was to laugh, adding:
“They think that Libra has positives to it but that it’s all based on trust and do you trust Mark Zuckerberg? And that’s the issue that they have, obviously.”
While Amazon might indeed have pulled off Libra, it’s almost fitting that Facebook rushed in. One thing Zuckerberg has been able to do, intentionally or not, is to potentially accelerate a regulatory framework for crypto. He owed the Winklevosses one anyway.