Facebook and its Libra cryptocurrency are making waves around the world and dividing the crypto community. Many people believe that the centralized currency that is called Libra will turn out to be some sort of data mining operation that invades your privacy on a number of levels. Meanwhile, a much smaller slice of the crypto community actually believes that it could be a good thing.
Recently, Libra has been facing round after round of hearings with the US Senate, but one particular sentence from David Marcus – Facebook’s Head of Blockchain – has caught the eye of Chinse citizens. The sentence has made Libra the second most searched term in China on Weibo with more than 220 million views and well over 17,000 comments – way to go Libra!
Never Mind the Firewall
Despite the most powerful firewall known to mankind filtering out blockchain and crypto-related traffic, Marcus’ comments still made their way into China. During his testimony, Marcus spouted a sentence that hinted that – if it’s allowed to launch – Libra would likely compete with two leading Chinese payment services – WeChat Pay and Alipay. Now, it’s very clear that Marcus is trying to draw on the current US/China trade war and hint that Libra could make America more powerful, but apparently the Chinese missed that.
#LIBRA made the second top trending topic on Weibo, Chinese twitter ??
Unlike the first hearing didn’t make much splash outside crypto groups, in second one Marcus admitted “Libra will compete with Alipay/Wechat” which trigger the attention bomb widely @nlw narrative watch pic.twitter.com/9UeLn4dvop
— Dovey Wan ? ? (@DoveyWan) July 18, 2019
Libra Can’t Challenge WeChat Pay or Alipay
While Libra is looking to digitize the Dollar, WeChat Pay and Alipay have arguably already done that in China. Around 90% of all stores in urban areas currently accept WeChat Pay and Alipay, with that majority of businesses in major cities no longer accepting cash in favor of these two payment options. If Libra thinks it can roll into China and disrupt two payment platforms that have already reached mass adoption levels, then it’s clearly delusional.
People’s Bank of China Preparing to Combat Libra
Always one to be prepared, the People’s Bank of China is preparing its own central bank digital currency (CBDC) to fight off the Libra invasion. The CBDC would be very similar to WeChat Pay and Alipay, but would use the latest in distributed ledger technology (DLT). It would also use a digitized version of the Yuan, as opposed to the Dollar.
Many commentators on Weibo pointed out that Libra could very well be used by the US government in a bid to make the Dollar more powerful and integral to the working of countries all around the globe. This theory plays right into one of Donald Trump’s recent Tweets, where he said,
It is by far the most dominant currency anywhere in the World, and it will always stay that way. It is called the United States Dollar!
When it comes down to it, Facebook is already blocked by the great firewall, meaning Libra already faces an uphill battle in China. The sentiment in the nation is anti-dollar and with rising political tension between the two countries, Libra stands no chance of replacing WeChat Pay and Alipay. Name-dropping the two in a US Senate hearing was a sly tactic to try and sway politicians to give Libra the go-ahead, as a means to help Trump and his administration try to levy tougher sanctions on China.