- Facebook has finally launched its highly-anticipated crypto project called Libra.
- There are three reasons why FB’s entry into blockchain technology may boost existing digital assets.
- Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ripple will likely see different behaviors.
Facebook has finally leaped into Libra – its cryptocurrency project which has been rumored for a long time. The social media behemoth has said that Libra will be better than Bitcoin and that its digital coin will rival the dollar – one day.
Mark Zuckerberg’s firm has been looking for ways to generate growth after Facebook has flattened in some markets while messaging services have been on the rise. It now seems to want to monetize messaging by allowing users to send money to each other.
And what about decentralization? The long list of A-List partners includes PayPal, Visa, Mastercard, Uber, and many others – but no banks. The firms will have nodes in the new independent Calibra subsidiary.
So, Facebook has a plan for diving into the crypto-sphere. What does it mean for existing cryptocurrencies?
Here are three reasons for a potential upsurge:
1) Crypto goes mainstream
By launching its own digital coin, Facebook has acknowledged the importance of the technology and the need for a cryptocurrency. It serves as a seal of approval for Bitcoin – that began the revolution – and all the others.
FB also makes cryptos mainstream – there is nothing more mainstream than a company that has two billion users. And its partners are household names as well. Uber and PayPal can from now on be identified with cryptos – a big leap forward.
By making the technology and the concept of alternative currencies more acceptable, Bitcoin will also be seen as more acceptable – thus drawing funds.
2) Rising chances of a crypto ETF
Buying cryptocurrencies is not as easy for the regular investor as there is no straightforward off-the-shelf Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) that enables taking a stake in digital coins. That has been an Achilles Heel for cryptos.
Various attempts have either been rejected outright or postponed over and over again – including the latest high-profile request by Van Eck and SolidX.
The entry of Facebook into the game – itself under growing regulatory scrutiny of late –will have to force a more serious approach by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) also to approve the first Bitcoin ETF.
The endless postponements may have to come to an end. If a cryptocurrency ETF is launched – prices may rise from the launching pad.
3) Cryptos’ decentralized appeal grows
Despite Facebook’s pledge to separate the Calibra Institution from its core business – FB has its past. The social media company has made several privacy pledges and has not always thoroughly followed through.
Many feel uncomfortable with Facebook’s usage of private data and opt for other messaging services such as Telegram and Signal. The same can happen with cryptocurrencies.
The suspicion that the Libra currency and its transactions are all eyed by Mark Zuckerberg may shed a more positive light existing offerings which are decentralized. Using a currency that is free from corporate interests has a better appeal.
And that may push prices higher as well.
All in all, Facebook’s entry into the crypto-world has good chances of pushing prices higher.
But how will each currency react?
Bitcoin will likely be the biggest winner
The granddaddy of cryptocurrency is the best-positioned to gain from Zuckerberg’s new adventure. Looking back at the three reasons to rise, Bitcoin is the closest cryptocurrency to the mainstream already – often confused with the technology itself. When all digital coins grow in appeal – Bitcoin is already at the top.
BTC is also the first digital coin in line for an ETF. So far, approval requests have focused on Bitcoin and not any other cryptocurrency.
And also in decentralization – Bitcoin has the best appeal – by featuring the initial ideology. And while the Bitcoin world has many celebrities and even people that claim to be the founders, there is no single boss.
Ethereum, rising but not like the others
Starting from the last point, not everybody sees Vitalik Buterin’s brainchild as independent from its founder. Nevertheless, Ether is the crypto of choice for Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) and is second in line to the throne – It has room to gain as money flows out of Bitcoin to look for alternatives.
It may also be the second cryptocurrency to receive an ETF and is also relatively known.
Overall, Etehreum will likely gain, but not excel.
Ripple may rip higher, but it may take time
On the eve of Facebook’s big splash, Ripple announced a significant partnership with MoneyGram – the world’s second-largest money transfer service.
Will Ripple remain second to Facebook in transfers using the blockchain technology? That is a possible detrimental scenario. However, Ripple is not new in the game.
The firm’s xRapid technology is already in use by many Asian banks and is expanding its markets. Facebook is late to the game and may end as the runner up rather than the winner.
It is important to stress that Facebook’s partnerships do not include banks. These dinosaur institutions may find themselves fighting Facebook and perhaps counting on Ripple as a partner. However, these are early days for such speculation.
However, we can cautiously assess that Ripple has the chance to become a winner.