Libra: Is it Really about Money?

08/20/2019
by   Valerie Khan, et al.
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The announcement by Facebook that Libra will "deliver on the promise of 'the internet of money'" has drawn the attention of the financial world. Regulators, institutions, and users of financial products have all been prompted to react and, so far, no one managed to convince the association behind Libra to apply the brakes or to convince regulators to stop the project altogether. In this article, we propose that Libra might be best seen not as a financial newcomer, but as a critical enabler for Facebook to acquire a new source of personal data. By working with financial regulators seeking to address concerns with money laundering and terrorism, Facebook can position itself for privileged access to high-assurance digital identity information. For this reason, Libra merits the attention of not only financial regulators, but also the state actors that are concerned with reputational risks, the rule of law, public safety, and national defence.

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