Mastercard Weighs in on Libra, Facebook’s Cryptocurrency / Mobile Payments Jump

June 25, 2019         By: Steven Anderson

We’ve heard a lot about Libra lately, Facebook’s massive new attempt at landing some cash that isn’t related to advertiser dollars. Analysts from all sides have weighed in, and now, one of Libra’s own insiders—no less than Mastercard itself—has brought out its own view on the matter.

Mastercard noted that it had been “looking at blockchain” for some time, gathering an understanding of the technological issues behind the phenomenon and trying to apply these accordingly. It’s launched several pilot programs and filed several patents, and it’s come to believe—according to Mastercard’s executive vice president of digital solutions Jorn Lambert—that the stablecoin (a coin backed by a more tangible asset including fiat currency) will play some role in Mastercard’s future.

Mastercard, Lambert further noted, sees Libra as a means to combine a cryptocurrency and a private governing body, which will add further stability to the operation and potentially make it the first real cryptocurrency solution that can be used for payments worldwide.

Naturally, Lambert also notes that there’s still quite a ways to go between the potential solutions Libra can offer and the current state of Libra, still perhaps best described as “unfinished”. There are still matters of public perception to settle, not to mention regulatory scrutiny. With bitcoin back around the $11,000 level thanks in some part to Libra’s advance, it may be that cryptocurrency has regained enough ground to seem viable.

On the plus side, Libra is going to be a cryptocurrency well-regulated from the start, without the wild swings of value that make bitcoin such a difficult proposition to use as a cross-border payments application. Its status as a stablecoin will certainly give it a hand in this regard, not to mention its central regulatory body. However, this might also prove a problem for Libra; with Facebook and other social media seen as almost aggressively anti-Trump, it may well have a problem with regulators going forward in any aspect. Indeed, some corners of social commentary are already describing Libra as a totalitarian measure in the making; “the mark of the beast” has even been bandied around.

Facebook’s Libra has a lot going for it as an idea, but the biggest problem here may ultimately turn out to be that it’s “Facebook’s” Libra.