Facebook-Backed Cryptocurrency Changes Name Ahead Of Rumoured Launch
A cryptocurrency project supported by Facebook has changed its name in a bid to demonstrate its independence from the social media giant.
The Libra Association – a nonprofit formed by Facebook in 2017 – says it will be changing its name to Diem, as the group seeks to gain regulatory approval for next year’s launch of its cryptocurrency, which will now be called the Diem Dollar.
Libra, which was initially slated to launch in 2020, is Facebook’s shot at creating a digital currency that users can pay with both online and offline. The idea behind the project was to make transferring money easier, especially for people in developing countries, by bypassing traditional bank transfer systems. The company also had plans to launch a digital wallet, called Calibra, for the currency, which could be accessed through its various platforms, including WhatsApp and Messenger.
The Libra Association was created by Facebook three years ago to help oversee the currency, and brought on board several other major tech companies, including Uber, PayPal, and Shopify.
However it seems like the currency’s association with Facebook might be doing it more harm than good, with regulators already wary of the company’s aims and track record when it comes to launching new products.
In hearings last year, the US Congress expressed ‘serious concerns‘ about allowing a Facebook-controlled currency to be introduced to the global market, while the project has lost several major Libra Association members, including eBay, MasterCard and Visa following the negative response from financial authorities.
‘Diem’ will be hoping that its rebrand will help it escape some of the controversy associated with the ‘Libra’ name, and, according to the Financial Times, the project hopes to launch its currency in a ‘limited form’ in 2021. The paper reports that the project will no longer offer multiple coins that can be traded in place of multiple currencies, but instead a single coin backed by the US dollar.
Diem Association CEO Stuart Levey said in a statement:
The Diem project will provide a simple platform for fintech innovation to thrive and enable consumers and businesses to conduct instantaneous, low-cost, highly secure transactions
It remains to be seen how regulators will respond to Diem’s latest move, but with President-elect Joe Biden reportedly being urged by several groups to curb the influence of Big Tech companies, it seems like the project is still set to face serious scrutiny, even under a new name.
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