Facebook has made headlines since it announced Libra, the blockchain digital currency it’s planning to launch in 2020 with the Libra Association, the organization founded to oversee the project. Libra has had a wide range of reactions since it was made public, and many of them haven’t been exactly positive. Whether from international governments, other companies or activists concerned about the Facebook’s intentions, critics haven’t been hard to find.
One of such critics has taken further steps and even made its own alternative to Libra. The project, aptly called “OpenLibra” is being backed by several companies and non-profit organizations, including the Interchain Foundation and the Danish Red Cross. According to their description, the alternate currency will operate under two main premises: open governance and economic decentralization.
In the project’s website, its makers open with “An open platform for financial inclusion. Not run by Facebook.” According to the message, the group is made from “some of the best-in-class companies and non-profit foundations working in applied cryptography and blockchains.” The promise is to build on Libra’s strengths, but “extend it where needed” or downright remove the parts that could be “concerning” about Facebook’s efforts.
OpenLibra doesn’t hold any punches about Facebook, pointing what it believes are its most pressing problems. “Facebook and partners are creating a digital currency and banking ecosystem which will reach 4 billion humans,” reads the message. “Their goal is to replace the existing financial infrastructure, and compete with traditional banks (and central banks) across the world.” However, it argues this massive project will be distributed, but not decentralized, will require permissions to interact with, will not have privacy guarantees and “will be run by a plutocracy.”
The message goes on to explain possible negative outcomes that Libra might bring, with the two main concerns being surveillance and wealth accumulation. Most notably though, the group recognizes that even despite the pushback Libra has experienced, “Facebook is likely to succeed in their goal.” That’s the reason they’ve made OpenLibra, and hope it serves as a viable alternative.
OpenLibra has not announced any dates for its proposed launch, but the organization promises to publish its progress on their Twitter account.