Facebook Scales Back Libra, Ties it to Fiat Currency

· Andrew Orr · Link

Facebook coin

Facebook is scaling back its cryptocurrency project ‘Libra.’ Instead of trying to become the dominant global financial system, its new goals are less ambitious. Instead it will work as a layer on top of traditional fiat currency, much like Apple Pay.

The Libra Association said it had begun the process of getting regulatory approval for the payment network from the Swiss Financial Markets Supervisory Authority. To ensure that authorities around the world are on board, the Swiss agency is working with a “college” of regulators from over 20 countries. The association said it still aimed to bring the system live this year.

A good move by Facebook, in part because there was always going to be strong opposition to Libra. You might work with the government in some aspects, but you don’t mess with its money. And ultimately it’s still a way to compete with the likes of PayPal, Google Pay, and Apple Pay.c

Was Facebook’s Libra Planning to Make Money in Dirty Ways?

· Andrew Orr · Link

Facebook logo

I know that’s kind of a clickbait headline but it’s from a quote by Mastercard CEO Ajay Banga, who dropped out of Facebook’s Libra organization after “multiple red flags.” Emphasis mine:

One reason was Libra’s leaders wouldn’t commit to abiding by laws around knowing their clients, money laundering, and data management, he told the newspaper.

“Every time you talked to the main proponents of Libra, I said ‘Would you put that in writing?’ They wouldn’t.”

It was also unclear to Banga how Libra would generate revenue, stoking his fears that it would make money in unscrupulous ways. “When you don’t understand how money gets made, it gets made in ways you don’t like,”

Facebook profiting off of money laundering?

YouTube Calls Cryptocurrency Videos ‘Harmful Content’

· Andrew Orr · Link

In a crackdown called ‘The Crypto YouTube Carnage’ the company has been deleting cryptocurrency videos en masse, labeling them as “harmful or dangerous.”

As years’ worth of videos started disappearing from several crypto YouTubers’ channels, many began speculating about the giant’s motivations. Some believe that YouTube is sensing a rise of new, blockchain platforms that can compete for creators both by offering them better “job security” and a higher cut of earnings.

Get Free Bitcoins from 33 Faucets That Pay

· Bryan Chaffin · Deep Dive

Bitcoins Raining Down

Bryan Chaffin explains how Bitcoin faucets work and which faucets you can trust to pay. [Update: reformatted the guide, removed several defunct faucets, and updated all descriptions. – Bryan]

Tim Cook Criticizes Facebook's Libra Currency

· Andrew Orr · News

Tim cook

Tim Cook spoke with French newspaper Les Echos where he said that currencies should stay in the hands of governments, not private companies.

Federal Reserve Chairman Says Facebook Libra "Cannot go Forward"

· Andrew Orr · Link

Facebook logo

U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said on Wednesday that Facebook Libra “cannot go forward” until serious concerns are addressed.

“Libra raises many serious concerns regarding privacy, money laundering, consumer protection and financial stability,” Powell said during his semi-annual testimony on monetary policy before the U.S. House of Representatives Financial Services Committee.

“I don’t think the project can go forward” without addressing those concerns, he added later.

Being pessimistic, I wonder if they are genuinely concerned about things like privacy, or just don’t want the competition.

Libra: Finally, a Way for Facebook to Control More, with Andrew Orr - ACM 516

· Bryan Chaffin · Apple Context Machine Podcast

Apple Context Machine Logo

Bryan Chaffin and Andrew Orr dig deep into the possibilities—for good and ill (mostly ill)—of Facebook’s new Libra cryptocurrency. They cover how it work, why Facebook went the cryptocurrency route, and what Facebook has to gain from the project. Spoiler, the answer is everything!

Opera Launches Reborn 3 With VPN and Crypto Wallet

· Andrew Orr · Cool Stuff Found

Today Opera is launching its Reborn 3 browser. It comes with a VPN and cryptocurrency wallet built in, and it’s also ready for Web 3.0, which is defined as a more intelligent web with machine learning, natural language search, data-mining, and more. You could make a strong argument that we’re already in Web 3.0, although Opera defines “Web 3” as a blockchain-based internet. In any case, the Reobrn 3 browser is ready for it. The crypto wallet syncs between the desktop browser and the Android app, and will be added to the iOS in the future. The update also brings a new, borderless design with light and dark modes. Opera created a short sci-fi film “in which a woman travels through a futuristic world in search of regaining control of her digital life.” You can watch that film here, and download Opera here.

Facebook Coin is Already the Butt of Jokes

· Andrew Orr · News

Facebook coin

Facebook is rumored to launch its own cryptocurrency called Facebook Coin, and it’s already a laughingstock with cryptocurrency experts.

International Authorities Bust Cryptocurrency Fraud Cartel

· Charlotte Henry · Link

Cryptocurrency Crime

U.S. and international law enforcement agencies combined to bust an international cryptocurrency fraud cartel. In total, 20 people were charged, The Next Web reported. 16 of those came from outside the U.S., and 12 of them will be extradited. Assistant Attorney General Benczkowski said that “the defendants allegedly orchestrated a highly organized and sophisticated scheme to steal money from unsuspecting victims in America and then launder their funds using cryptocurrency.”

The criminal conspiracy had defrauded Americans by listing products – usually cars – on online auction websites like eBay and Craigslist, only the item being sold didn’t exist. To make this scam seem more believable, the fraudsters had help from people based in the US. After the victims were convinced to pay, money was sent to the US-based associates who then converted the money to cryptocurrency before sending it on to their predominantely Romanian-based counterparts.

eToro Begins iOS Wallet Roll Out

· Charlotte Henry · Product News

EToro new mobile app

eToro has begun the phased introduction of its multi-cryptocurrency wallet to iOS, starting with limited countries.

Cryptocurrency Malware Found in Adobe Flash

· Andrew Orr · News

Cryptocurrency malware has been found in Adobe Flash updates by researchers from Palo Alto Networks. It’s a Monero mining bot.

Wall Street Journal Explores Criminal Side of Cryptocurrency

· Bryan Chaffin · Cool Stuff Found

Cryptocurrency Crime

The Wall Street Journal has an excellent piece exploring the criminal side of cryptocurrency. Long-time readers know I’m a fan of cryptocurrency, but this piece offers excellent insight on the dark side of this technology. Here’s a snippet:

For many criminals, cryptocurrency is less cumbersome than cash. Hackers hold computer systems hostage and demand instant, anonymous payment in bitcoin. Drug dealers sell in dark corners of the internet, obscuring their names and locations. Narcotics traffickers move and launder their profits with clicks of a mouse. “The cases have exploded,” says Gabriel Bewley, a special agent in the virtual-currency initiative at the Drug Enforcement Administration.

I’ve read some really awful attacks on cryptocurrency and Bitcoin in the last few weeks, pieces that are devoid of logic, knowledge, and understanding. What I like about this piece is that it covers this real problem with facts and without hyperbole. If you’re looking for some understanding on this issue, this is a great article to read.