Warren’s space | Wed, Jul 24, 2019
by Warren Coats
Every other day, it seems, we witness the launch of a new crypto (digital) currency. Each combines a medium of exchange (a currency) and a means of payment (a technical process of delivering the currency—of making a payment with it). While many of us have watched the ups and downs of bitcoin and its imitators with amusement, none of us (hopefully) take it seriously as a currency. Bitcoin is a speculative vehicle for gambling. Processing bitcoin payments is too slow, and its value is too volatile to succeed as a medium of exchange or as a means of payment. Only about 1% of bitcoin transactions are actual payments. Many new means of payment do not involve a new currency. Thus, debit and credit cards, checks, wire transfers, PayPal, Popmoney, Zelle, etc., are means of payment of US dollars, or Euros or other sovereign currencies.
Unlike the bitcoins of the world, Libra is a currency and means of payment that is designed to ensure that its tokens will have a stable value. The legacy members of Facebook, Visa, Uber, and other partners in the Libra Association promise the possibility of rapid adoption. Libra’s value will be fixed to that of a basket of major currencies, its supply will be regulated by market demand at that fixed price (issued via currency board rules), and it will be fully backed by assets of the same value ensuring that holders of Libra can redeem them for the same value at any time.