Facebook controversial Libra cryptocurrency could launch as early as January, according to the Financial Times, but it appears the project has once again scaled back its ambitions. When the Libra Association, the consortium Facebook co-founded to oversee the project, shared its latest plans in April, it said its goal was to create multiple digital “stablecoins” of fiat currencies such as the dollar, euro and pound.
As TechCrunch explains, stablecoins are cryptocurrencies that don’t fluctuate in value against the real-world money they’re based on. In that way, a single stablecoin backed by the dollar is always worth one dollar. The Libra Association had also planned to create a composite of all of its tokens. The group came out with this plan after regulators expressed concerns over its original intention to create a cryptocurrency based on a basket of real-world currencies.
According to the Financial Times, the Libra Association now plans to launch a single coin back one-for-one by the US dollar. The 27-member consortium reportedly still plans to create coins based on other fiat currencies, but those will come at a later date. The composite coin will come later as well. Libra’s exact release date will depend on whether the currency gets the necessary approvals from regulators.
Facebook will likely launch Novi, its Libra wallet, at the same time. One person involved with the wallet told the Financial Times it’s “ready from a product perspective.” The app will allow you to send and receive Libra tokens. You’ll also be able to use Messenger and WhatsApp to manage your Libra balance. Facebook reportedly won’t launch Novi everywhere, instead it will focus its efforts initially on the US and a couple of countries in Latin America where digital currencies are already popular.
What the report doesn’t tell us is what some of the Libra Association’s more high-profile members such as Spotify and Uber plan bo do when the coin is available to the public. They told the Financial Times they’ll take a wait and see approach before investing in use cases.