Libra, Explained

Facebook’s new “cryptocurrency” is shady as hell.

By Elizabeth Lopatto and cross-posted from The Verge.

What is Libra?

It’s an excellent book by Don DeLillo, the American master. Published in 1988, it is a fictional account of the life of Lee Harvey Oswald, President John F. Kennedy’s eventual assassin. It’s better than White Noise but not as good as Underworld.

Liz.

Fine. It’s Facebook’s new cryptocurrency. The point is that you can send money all over the world with lower fees than if you were to engage, say, Western Union.

It’s shady as hell, though. You remember Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss? The twins from whom Mark Zuckerberg ripped the initial idea for Facebook? Yeah, so they have a cryptocurrency exchange called Gemini. As any astrology buff will tell you, both Libra and Gemini are air signs, and Geminis are stereotypically scarier than Libras. Gemini is the sign of twins and is associated with two-faced-ness. Plus, it’s a mutable air sign, which makes it somewhat unstable. Libra, as a cardinal sign, is somewhat more stable. Libra sees both sides; Gemini tries to be both sides.

On the other hand, astrology is made up. On some theoretical third hand: so is money!

What I’m trying to say here is that Zuckerberg seems to love crushing the dreams of these handsome men, so who can say how this will turn out? Anyway, the name seems kind of bitchy.

Is Libra a cryptocurrency?

This is kind of a contentious question. Relative to the US dollar, the euro, or the yen, it’s decidedly a cryptocurrency because there’s no central bank. There’s also a public ledger, although only some people are allowed to mine the coin. So I chatted with some experts to find out whether Libra is a cryptocurrency

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