#009 – Facebook Libra – June 25, 2019 [Video]

Facebook announces Libra, its entry into the cryptocurrency space. Niantic launches Wizards Unite, a Harry Potter game with augmented reality features similar to Pokemon Go. And Mobile World Congress kicks off this week, showcasing 5G technology.

Facebook announces Libra, its entry into the cryptocurrency space. Niantic launches Wizards Unite, a Harry Potter game with augmented reality features similar to Pokemon Go. And Mobile World Congress kicks off this week, showcasing 5G technology.

Q: It’s been a busy week in tech. Let’s start with Facebook getting into blockchain and cryptocurrencies. Are they creating their own money?

A: Alongside established cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum, Facebook is proposing its own, called Libra. Some people are calling them Zuckerbucks. Right now, cryptocurrencies are pretty fringe, and some governments are openly hostile to monetary systems they can’t regulate or control. Libra has the advantage of the backing of the biggest human network on the planet, and they want to “reinvent money.” Partners include Visa and Mastercard. With a digital wallet that will be built into Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, Libra just might be able to make cryptocurrency mainstream.

Q: Let’s move from virtual currency to virtual worlds. There’s a new game out that puts people into the world of Harry Potter?

A: It’s called Wizards Unite, and it’s from Niantic, the same company that brought you Pokemon Go, and before that, Ingress. Like Pokemon Go, Wizards Unite turns the real world into the playground. But Wizards Unite is a more complicated game. You’re not just trying to catch different creatures, but gathering ingredients for potions and different kinds of locations, including inns and greenhouses and fortresses. There are little mini games, and battles that you can do with three other players. Over time, you level up, and get new abilities and features. Harry Potter is a huge brand, probably bigger than Pokemon Go, but the question is whether people are already tired of these augmented reality games, or if Wizards Unite is too complicated.

Q: Finally, this week all eyes are on Shanghai for the latest in mobile technology.

A: That’s right. Mobile World Congress is probably the biggest mobile phone convention in the world, and it kicks off Wednesday in China. More than 100,000 people from over 200 countries attend. This year, 5G technology is the biggest trend, as we’re finally starting to see both 5G networks and 5G devices in the real world. Samsung and Huawei are touting their new foldable phones. Artificial Intelligence is also a big theme this year, and the Chinese government has expressed its goal to be a world leader in both 5G and AI.

Calibra, a new global currency, announced by Facebook

Calibra is a new digital wallet that you will be able to use to save, send, and spend Libra, a new global currency powered by blockchain technology.

From the Facebook Newsroom:

Today we are sharing plans for Calibra, a newly formed Facebook subsidiary whose goal is to provide financial services that will enable people to access and participate in the Libra network. The first product Calibra will introduce is a digital wallet for Libra, a new global currency powered by blockchain technology. The wallet will be available in Messenger, WhatsApp, and as a standalone app, and we expect to launch in 2020.

If you have an internet connection today, you can access all kinds of useful services for little to no cost — whether you’re trying to keep in touch with family and friends, learn new things, or even start a business. But when it comes to saving, sending, and spending money, it’s not that simple.

For many people around the world, even basic financial services are still out of reach: almost half of the adults in the world don’t have an active bank account, and those numbers are worse in developing countries and even worse for women. The cost of that exclusion is high — for example, approximately 70 percent of small businesses in developing countries lack access to credit, and $25 billion is lost by migrants every year through remittance fees.

This is the challenge we’re hoping to address with Calibra, a new digital wallet that you will be able to use to save, send, and spend Libra, a new global currency powered by blockchain technology.

From the beginning, Calibra will let you send Libra to almost anyone with a smartphone, as easily and instantly as you might send a text message and at low to no cost. And, in time, we hope to offer additional services for people and businesses, such as paying bills with the push of a button, buying a cup of coffee with the scan of a code, or riding your local public transit without needing to carry cash or a metro pass.

Here’s a sneak peek at what the experience of using Calibra will be like:

When it launches, Calibra will have strong protections in place to keep your money and your information safe. We’ll be using all the same verification and anti-fraud processes that banks and credit cards use, and we’ll have automated systems that will proactively monitor activity to detect and prevent fraudulent behavior. We’ll also offer dedicated live support to help if you lose your phone or your password — and if someone fraudulently gains access to your account and you lose some Libra as a result, we’ll offer you a refund.

We’ll also take steps to protect your privacy. Aside from limited cases, Calibra will not share account information or financial data with Facebook, Inc. or any third party without customer consent. For example, Calibra customers’ account information and financial data will not be used to improve ad targeting on the Facebook, Inc. family of products. The limited cases where this data may be shared reflect our need to keep people safe, comply with the law, and provide basic functionality to the people who use Calibra. Calibra will use Facebook, Inc. data to comply with the law, secure customers’ accounts, mitigate risk, and prevent criminal activity. You can read more about our commitments to privacy and consumer protection at calibra.com.

We’re still early in the process of developing Calibra, and along the way we’ll be consulting with a wide range of external experts to ensure that we can deliver a product that is safe, private, and easy to use for everyone. But we’re excited to share this early glimpse with you, and we’ll keep you updated along the way. In the meantime, if you’d like to be among the first to know when Calibra is available, you can sign up at calibra.com.