David Gerard has been writing a follow-up to his must-read and surprisingly successful Attack of the 50 Foot Blockchain: Bitcoin, Blockchain, Ethereum & Smart Contracts, entitled Libra Shrugged: How Facebook Tried to Take Over The Money. The Kindle version goes live on Amazon next Monday.
As one of his Patreons, I've been reading the chapters as he finished them. It isn't a laugh-a-minute read like his first book, but like the first it is a copiously sourced account of incredible hubris. Facebook's hubris led them to believe that they could, in effect, become a sovereign currency issuer like a government, without any of the responsibilities that governments assume when they control a currency. Actual governments looked at this proposal and responded "you have to be kidding". Follow me below the fold for more.
The idea of issuing a cryptocurrency took root inside Facebook when they hired some Bitcoin enthusiasts. Apparently Zuckerberg was incapable of seeing through their hype, which tells you something about how good he is at understanding technology. The enthusiasts tried to sell the idea of Facebook's cryptocurrency (called Libra), just as they had tried to sell Bitcoin, with the idea that it would "bank the unbanked". But, as Gerard carefully explains, the goal really was "unbanking the banked", allowing rich sociopaths to evade the "Know Your Customer/Anti-Money Laundering" regulations as they exported their riches to tax havens.
Gerard's account of the how the appalled reactions of major governments forced Facebook to back gradually away from their idea, while trying to pretend that they weren't, is wonderfully detailed and well worth reading. He includes a history of the various failures actual governments have encountered trying to launch Central Bank Digital Currencies.
I recommend reading it.
PS: the reasons for the recent dearth of posts are two-fold. First, I'm busier than I ever was when I had a paying job now we are running a one-room school for our three grandkids doing remote learning. Second, remote school over 3Mbit/sec DSL wasn't ideal. I've been consumed by the drawn-out and somewhat complex process of upgrading from Sonic's DSL to their gigabit fiber. Like their DSL, where AT&T owns the copper but Sonic is the ISP, AT&T owns the fiber and was the source of the delays. The complexity was going from four static IP adddresses to one dynamic IP address, and upgrading our home network to IPv6