Libra Shrugged: How Facebook Tried to Take Over the Money

David Gerard
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Silicon Valley tries to disrupt the world — and the world says “no.”

Facebook: the biggest social network in history. A stupendous, world-shaping success. But governments were giving Facebook trouble over personal data abuses, election rigging and fake news.

Mark Zuckerberg wondered: what if Facebook could pivot to finance? Or, better: what if Facebook started its own private world currency?

Facebook could have so much power that governments couldn’t stop them. It would be the Silicon Valley dream.


Facebook launched Libra in June 2019. Libra would be an international currency and payment system. It would flow instantly around the world by phone. It could even “bank the unbanked.” Libra could apparently do all this just by using a “blockchain.”

But Libra would also make Facebook too big to control— and to lead the way for Facebook’s Silicon Valley fellows to swing the power of their money as they pleased. Facebook and their friends could work around any single country’s rules. Libra could shake whole economies.

And Facebook would become the “digital identity” provider to the world. If you wanted to use money at all, you’d have to go through Facebook.

Governments looked at Libra — and they saw another 2008 financial crisis in the making. Facebook’s plan would have made the company even more entrenched — at the cost of broken economies worldwide. Starting with toppling the US dollar.

Libra was as incompetent as it was arrogant — and the world stopped it in its tracks. But how did Facebook put forward such a bizarre and ill-considered plan, that left every regulator who saw it reeling in horror?

And what happens when another company tries the same trick? Or when Facebook won’t take “no” for an answer, and releases the cut-down version that they’re already calling “Libra 2.0”?

“Libra Shrugged” is the story of a bad idea.


Also covered:

* Bitcoin and cryptocurrency: the source of all the bad ideas in Libra.

* Central Bank Digital Currencies: digital versions of official legal tender, suddenly fashionable again because of Libra.

* Facebook’s early forays into payments, with Facebook Credits and Messenger Payments.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Taking over the money 7

Chapter 1: A user’s guide to Libra 9

Chapter 2: The genesis of Libra: Beller’s blockchain 15

Chapter 3: To launch a Libra: Let’s start a crypto 19

Chapter 4: Bitcoin: why Libra is like this 25

Chapter 5: The Libra White Papers 33

Chapter 6: Banking the unbanked 43

Chapter 7: The Libra Reserve plan and economic stability 49

Chapter 8: Libra, privacy and your digital identity 61

Chapter 9: The regulators recoil in horror 67

Chapter 10: David Marcus before the US House and Senate 77

Chapter 11: July to September 2019: Libra runs the gauntlet 95

Chapter 12: October 2019: Libra’s bad month 101

Chapter 13: Mark Zuckerberg before the US House 111

Chapter 14: November 2019: The comedown 123

Chapter 15: Central bank digital currencies 129

Epilogue: Libra 2.0: not dead yet 141

Appendix: 2010–2013: The rise and fall of Facebook Credits 149

Acknowledgements 155

About the author 157

Index 161

Notes 167

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About the author

David Gerard writes the cryptocurrency and blockchain news site

Attack of the 50 Foot Blockchain, and is the author of the 2017 book

Attack of the 50 Foot Blockchain: Bitcoin, Blockchain, Ethereum & Smart

Contracts. David remains a frequent, if occasionally annoyed, user of


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3 total

Additional Information

David Gerard
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Published on
Nov 2, 2020
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Best for
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Business & Economics / Banks & Banking
Business & Economics / Economics / Macroeconomics
Computers / Web / Social Media
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Content protection
This content is DRM free.
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Eligible for Family Library

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