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Weeks after Facebook announced its cryptocurrency project Libra, it is still reeling from multiple controversies over its regulation and usage. However, members of the cryptocurrency community were quick to point out that Libra’s disastrous launch shares many similarities with the plot of the American TV show Mr. Robot.
The show’s previous season showcased a scene where the CEO of a private company, E-Corp, pushed the US government to launch a stable coin in light of’s increasing dominance.
In the Golden Globe winning series, CEO of E-Corp, Philip Price, can be seen pressuring the US treasury secretary to allow the company to launch a new digital currency in lieu of cash. Price argued that the launch of such an ‘E-Coin’ token would allow the state to compete with cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. Outside of this exchange, E-Corp is portrayed as an evil conglomerate throughout the show.
Facebook, meanwhile, has been struggling to build public trust in its cryptocurrency Libra. Head of Libra, David Marcus, recently testified before Congress to quell concerns and explain how Facebook is planning to execute its vision. However, the social media company received criticism from a number of senators, some of whom even labeled it “dangerous” and “unworthy of trust.”
Facebook also claimed that unlike existing digital currencies, Libra will represent “government-backed money.” The company claims that the currency will help improve banking inclusion around the world, while also cutting down on transaction costs and wait times. While Libra was announced last month, the cryptocurrency is not slated to launch before 2020. Like the fictional E-Coin, each Libra token will be valued at exactly $1.
In the same scene from Mr. Robot, Price tells the US treasury secretary that “hard cash is fading rapidly,” and urges him to adapt quickly. He even offered to provide the US government with a backdoor and tracking access. Similarly, many cryptocurrency enthusiasts fear that Libra’s compliance with future United States regulations will hinge on the company’s willingness to prove a secret backdoor.
The Libra project notably has the support of 28 other founding members who have each invested $10 million to join the association. Given that the list includes companies like Visa, Mastercard, Paypal, Uber, and Spotify, Libra could potentially be used as a payment method for products and services in both physical and online stores.
While the Mr. Robot universe does eventually show E-Coin being accepted in stores as a payment method, the real world is not on the brink of economic collapse and in no hurry to adopt an alternative currency. What remains to be seen is how exactly Facebook will cooperate with regulators and convince them that Libra is in everybody’s best interests.
Do you think Libra should be subject to greater scrutiny considering Facebook’s track record with maintaining its users’ privacy? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.