Big Tech’s War for Your Wallet: Facebook Sparks Outrage After Announcing Plans for Digital Currency

Big Tech’s War for Your Wallet: Facebook Sparks Outrage After Announcing Plans for Digital Currency



this is democracy now democracynow.org the war and peace report I'm Amy Goodman and I'm Wanda news iowa's welcome to all of our viewers and listeners across the country and around the world in a move that could reshape the world's financial system Facebook has unveiled plans to launch a new global digital currency called Libre Facebook announced its plans Tuesday after secretly working on the cryptocurrency for more than a year it plans to launch Libre next year in partnership with other large companies among them Visa MasterCard PayPal and uber facebook said it wants to create quote a simple global currency and infrastructure that empowers billions of people David Marcus Facebook's cryptocurrency chief appeared on CNBC on Tuesday if you want to compare Libre with traditional crypto currencies the first thing and the first big difference is that typically crypto currencies are investment vehicles or you know investment assets rather than being great medium of exchange and and this is really designed from the ground up to be a great medium of exchange a very high quality form of digital money that you can use for everyday payments and cross-border payments micro transactions and all kinds of different things Facebook's plan has already come under fierce criticism from financial regulators and lawmakers French finance minister Bruno LeMay said Libre must not become a sovereign currency in Washington the chair of the House Financial Services Committee Congress member Maxine Waters called on Facebook to pause its development of Libra until lawmakers and regulators have an opportunity to examine these issues and take action Democratic senator sherrod Brown tweeted quote Facebook is already too big and too powerful and it has used that power to exploit users data without protecting their privacy we cannot allow Facebook to run a risky new cryptocurrency out of a Swiss bank account without oversight Brown said to talk more about Facebook's plans for a new digital currency we're joined by David Dahon he is executive director at the American Prospect recently wrote a piece for The New Republic headlined the final battle in Big Tex war two dominate your world welcome to Democracy Now talk about these major developments David and explain exactly what Libra is and what Facebook is trying to do so Libra as as Facebook describes it as a currency a cryptocurrency you you when you talk about that you kind of think of something like Bitcoin but this would actually have reserves so they call it sort of a stable coin it is backed by actual money that is various international currencies and also government securities and so that should prevent volatility from the the unit of exchange Libra going up or down very much it'll it'll fluctuate a little but not in the ways that you know we think of when we think of Bitcoin so according to Facebook that is the way that this can be used to purchase goods on the Facebook app or on any other app or website that offers payment in Libra it's a way to transfer money to other people on the Facebook app obviously you know we have what over two billion people that use Facebook it's a way to transfer something of value between those users and it's because it's backed by international currencies and can be used across borders it's really you know supplanting the need to exchange money you don't have to go from dollars to euros necessarily you can just pay in Libra so that's sort of the pitch that that Facebook would make the the the other side of this is that there's no real regulatory setup it's displacing global currencies in some ways there are serious monetary policy concerns serious rhetoric concerns could this be used as a to facilitate money laundering or tax evasion there are a whole host of unanswered questions around this well David Day and this whole issue of a bunch of private companies because we're not talking just about Facebook they initiated it but they've gotten a a buy-in from credit card companies from PayPal from uber from a variety of very powerful companies mostly American companies and you're in essence creating a a private organization to run a money system that would stretch across borders and I spent a couple of hours going on their website yesterday trying to understand even the governance situation of this and it's very detailed they've been working on this obviously for quite some time in secret and they talked about creating a Libra Association Council where if you were gonna be a founding member you have to invest at least ten million dollars and supposedly no one company could control this council because you'd be limited to a 1% of voting share no matter how much money you invested but if you invest a lot of money you can designate universities or nonprofits to vote for you on this council so in effect the more money you invest even though you may not have direct power over how the Association functions you can still have enormous influence on the voting blocs of what would in essence be an intern a new international currency I'm wondering what I mean would what a regulator is gonna say about this yeah there are serious governance questions around it there are also you know financial questions I mean the way that this works as I understand it is there's this investment of 10 million dollars from up to a hundred companies so you're talking about a billion dollars and also all the money so if somebody buys Libra they're paying that money into this reserve and they get Libra back that money can be used to be invested these reserves they said Facebook says in in you know very low risk securities but that money is not returned to the individual so if you think about a bank you get interest on your money that you deposit with the bank that the bank can use for for any purpose that they wish in this case the interest stays with these companies so it's it's you know there's a there's a financial incentive for these companies get involved this and and if you you know think about the scale the potential scale of something like this or you're talking two billion users any this is almost an operating system for money any other organization can build something to create payment services in this fashion the possibilities are really endless and so you know the financial possibilities are also and listen and as you correctly cite one I mean these the governance questions of how this currency will be managed how capital flows will be understood and facilitated if you have a country that is experiencing an economic downturn and the Libra is an excellent way for capital flight which is something we don't really want when a country is is in financial trouble how is that going to be mitigated or managed there just as I said just way too many unanswered questions with this and what about the issue for instance of countries that may be in conflict with each other or the United States and Iran right now the United States and Venezuela the impact of this kind of a currency on the geopolitical conflicts and the ability of nations to control their own currencies yeah I mean it's hard to know how how sanctions would work under this setup it's hard to know how any kind of anti money laundering usually a bank would have to create some suspicious activity report will Libra be able to do that it's it's you know you could use this for you know ways to to harm other other other countries through you know removing that currency into Libra I mean that would obviously be on the individual level but you know usually as you say countries are in control of their own fiat currency and if they have this sort of safety valve this global currency that would displace them in some ways which an individual could use to make all the purchases that needs to make and not use the currency denominated in that particular country it's it's almost unknown I mean we'd have no precedent for this so it's it's hard to say what some of the implications would be and I think that's why regulators and politicians are asking to really slow down so this can sort of be studied on Tuesday Facebook released a promotional video highlighting what the company sees as possible benefits of the new currency what if everyone was invited to the global economy with access to the same financial opportunities introducing Libra a new global currency designed for the digital world backed by the belief that money should be fast for obey and Legos simple for solace family business in Manila and secure for Betsey babe when sending money home to Mexico City it's powered by blockchain making it safe so David day an executive editor of The American Prospect if you can respond to this and also why Libra will be based in Switzerland does it have to do with it being a banking center a tax haven yeah so I mean the truth is is that if you were able to create some sort of digital wallet that could be used in any country and and and purchase and make micro transfers and things like that it would be convenient I mean that's really what Facebook is banking on right I mean it right now are the u.s. payment system is pretty clunky particularly with international transfers that take several days to clear there would be a convenience angle here and of course Facebook believes that if they can get you on their website and using their digital wallet which they control directly I mean there's this lever Association that's based in Switzerland as you say probably for tax purposes that is controlling the governance of the currency but calibra which is what David Marcus who we heard from the top is is running is a digital wallet that's run by a subsidiary that's wholly owned by Facebook so if if Calibra becomes ubiquitous if it becomes this thing that you you you really need to make purchases then you have something like WeChat and WeChat is the the app in China that has become so much a part of people's lives that it's very hard to use paper money in China I mean this is a social media app it's a chat tool and also it's a purchase app it's something that you can use in that fashion and that's Facebook's I think end goal is if you add payments on to this social media application that is incredibly dominant you've basically locked people in to Facebook and if you've done that then you know whether you're taking a little bit out of every transaction the two billion people make on a daily basis or whether you are just locking people onto the site knowing what purchases they've made and and then you know selling very data rich ads based on that you you have a prospect of real domination and you know I really think that either this thing is going to not get off the ground because too many regulators and politicians will have you know uneasiness about it or will look back in 20 years and this will be the week where this thing was announced that created visit this dominant global company that is you know an indispensable digital partner kind of walking you through life and David dating the whole issue of security Facebook is currently a poster child for the violations of privacy data rights of individuals they're insisting that they're going to build a separate this Calibra will be a separate subsidiary that it won't share the user information of Facebook itself with the this payment system that they set up and you talk about this issue because it almost seems like or dusty but Facebook is basically transferring its monopoly position and social media to then enter the financial transactions world yeah I mean first of all do you trust Mark Zuckerberg with anything around privacy at this point after years and years of these revelations and second of all it's a bit of a red herring so it's entirely possible let's take Facebook at their word that the financial data and the social data will be separate well in order to access you know purchases on on Libre you're still gonna have to make a click within the Facebook within whatsapp or wherever to to find you know your purchase or to search for a business that you want to solicit or things like that and that information is certainly going to be available to Facebook so the idea that there's no you know extra data that you'd be grabbing here if your facebook is really not true I mean your mning more time on the app if you're clicking around to find things to buy on the app which is not typically at this point what people do on facebook then that's just much more data that Facebook is going to be able to use to target ads at you and and do whatever else it was so finally again the title of your piece the final battle and big text war to dominate your world fill that out sure so we've been seeing over the last several months the big tech companies Google Apple Amazon and Facebook try to figure out how to become that sort of one partner I mean you have Apple that put out this thing that's a credit card called the Apple card you have Amazon partnering with other global payment systems on what they call world pay or what they call Amazon pay I should say Google has its own digital wallet and now you have Facebook with this thing that is who knows what it is this is a bank is it a prepaid card is a digital wallet is it a global currency so you have all these companies that were kind of competing separately are now all moving into the payment space and also moving into other spaces that are overlapping like entertainment to become that thing that is sort of the only kind of digital tool that you will need so you can make all your purchases you can talk to all your friends you can access all your entertainment you can do everything that you wish inside this world whether it's Facebook Google Amazon or Apple and that's really their intention and that's why I call it sort of the war of all against all this is like the final battle for global domination here and you know how that shakes out is sort of indeterminate at this point but what we know is that if you're creating this we already have these these these companies that are monopolies in their own sort of personal spaces if they if they combine sort of together a lot of different options for for you as an individual then you have just this absolute dominant behemoth and you know there are serious concerns around giving that much power to one company well of course we'll continue to follow this David day an executive editor of American Prospect will link to your piece in the New Republic the final battle and big text war to dominate your world coming up we go to Arizona to speak with an african-american family held at gunpoint by police because their four-year-old daughter allegedly took a doll from a Family Dollar Store they're now talking about suing for 10 million dollars but first we look at a highly contested District Attorney's race here in New York and Queens where one of the candidates is making headlines by vowing to radically reshape the criminal justice system her name is Tiffany Caban she's with us stay with us you

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38 thoughts on “Big Tech’s War for Your Wallet: Facebook Sparks Outrage After Announcing Plans for Digital Currency”

  • jeferson lemos says:

    yay, now with libra finnaly the economy will be absolutely undemocratic. Technocracy decides the structures of the economy without anyones vote, representatives and government management around the world. Leaking privacy doesnt make one enough of an asshole

  • Adam Majkowski says:

    Basically, you gave The Zook all your personal information, and now you are going to give him all your money to hold on to too.

  • I say wait and see. Anything that is a departure from the Federal Reserve is worth investigating. Regulation isn't always a good thing. Usually, regulation is not a good thing for the working people.

  • Mihai Ciubotaru says:

    It's a pathetic attempt by the owners of the printing machine, the FED to save the dollar from it's imminent collapse..

  • If this new currency competes with expensive money changers like Travelex / Western Union then it may be a good thing.

  • Control Nemo says:

    How is the quality of (digital) money determined? What is the scale being used? The FB spokesperson sounds like Donald Trump, "…very high quality digital money." D.T. "We'll have the best great health care. It'll be great, great health care."

  • THIS IS NOT A CRYPTO CURRENCY*, this is a digital token created centrally by a tyrannical corporation. *There is no block-chain, no decentralisation, no privacy every purchase every transaction will be traceable – how does this "liberate" people?

    *All Facebook need now is a flag, and an army, and they are a full dictatorship*. What if Facebook's master does not like your country, will they "liberate" you by not allowing you to use their shitcoin? This "token", and thats all it is, will allow Facebook to raise capital. You are just loaning money to "Mr Shit-Shirt". Fuckoff Zuckercuck you filthy creep, how dare you use images of poor people, who can already use crypto to remit currency, and convert into fiat with no permission needed from the biggest data thief on the planet. This is basically the BANK OF FACEBOOK. Use it, and you are basically a citizen of *the digital equivalent of SAUDI ARABIA*.

    The inevitable consequence of digital tyranny = separate internet's, its already happening…

  • Tried Facebook. The more I used it the less I liked it. Now I no longer use it, didn't need it, didn't want it, found it mostly annoying. And Facebook looking to provide their own money just gives me one more reason to avoid it like the plague. It "empowers" people? Yeah, it empowers Mark Zuckerberg, that's what people it "empowers", at the expense of everyone else.

  • Earth Strider says:

    Oh no. . . A private organization controlling the amount, interest and inflation of a currency. . . Oh wait YOU MEAN LIKE THE FEDERAL RESEARVE! The international banks, the world bank. This is an extremely simplified comment but a private institution controlling curency is absolutely nothing new in the 21st century. BUT yes government exists because oversight is necessary. Talk about oversight policy but dont pretend this is a completely new issue.

  • ProPeace MindFortress says:

    I don't even have to watch the video to point out that it is PARAMAOUNT to understand the diffrence between permission-less and permission-based blockchains… Bitcoin is decentralized and permission-less but Libra not! This is the beginning of Corporation controlled FAKECoins… if they don't like you they shut you down and there is nothing you can do… do not use libra! Do not even think about ever using Libra! Coinbase asking credentials is bad enough but you can wash it… Libra will not grant you any ways to keep your privacy. Visa, MasterCard, PayPal etc… they are all in, they are NOT humanitarians!

    So time to watch the video^^

  • Charles J. Brainard says:

    Corporate currency?
    Is it not bad enough that corporations have taken over the various governments of the world and privatized (read that as "profitised") many governmental functions. Is not enough for them to have and control most of the money? Now they want to produce their own currency. it seems more and more like they don't just want to control governments – they want to BE governments.
    USA, Inc.? Eurocorp? Are these things coming into existence? High-tech Feudal states are still Feudal states.

  • NO THANK YOU.
    This will be recuperation, financialization, corruption, and exploitation at it's finest. Yay capitalism.

  • Decentralize crypto currencies. Don't trust facebook. Backed by fiat petrodollars! Ha! Hey how ab out that missing 21 Trillions from the Pentagon's budget? Do not doubt these Userers will keep you in debt. Cybertrash or not.

  • I was just locked out of my FB account based on a fictitious complaint made that I was "operating a foreign propaganda page under a fictitious name" and the only way I could get FB to unlock my account was by giving them a copy of a valid photo id with my current address on it, and (2) other forms of documentation with my name and current address (FB suggested my credit card, bank statements, or other membership card) — none of which I am willing to give!! So I lost my FB account. I volunteer as a person who networks death row dogs for shelters and rescues across the US, and FB is the only way in which this can be done quickly and easily. When time is the difference between wether an animal lives or gets killed in a shelter, there is no other medium by which to communicate. So now I'm unable to continue volunteering!! Perhaps some petty person actually did me a favour by disconnecting me with FB!!

  • When Napoleons troops moved across Europe they would take all the grain, cattle, etc. giving the people paper called 'script' that they could exchange for the goods they needed. which would be supplied by a caravan that followed the army that was led by an 'Inspector General'. Henceforth all commerce would be in this new currency. Controlled by it. Reading history is so underrated.

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