CAPITULATION? U.S. lawmakers grilled Libra board member David Marcus last year. The consortium has overhauled its plans. (Credit: House Financial Services Committee)
Frances Coppola, a CoinDesk columnist, is a freelance writer and speaker on banking, finance and economics. Her book “,” explains how modern money creation and quantitative easing work, and advocates “helicopter money” to help economies out of recession.
Libra was originally advertised as a revolutionary new payments system. By creating a totally new international currency, it would break down national payment barriers and enable the world’s unbanked to participate in the cashless economy, both locally and internationally. But the , released in April 2020, falls far short of this ambition. Instead of bypassing national currencies, it now embraces them. And the international currency, while not absent, has been downgraded to simply a basket of national currencies. Libra seems to have lost its soul.
Libra’s capitulation to government reminds me of the Biblical story of the Tower of Babel. A bunch of upstart humans challenged God (aka government) by building something that would, by reaching to heaven, threaten his authority. God had a look at what they were building and decided he didn’t like it. But he didn’t close down the Tower. He made it impossible for the humans to finish building it. Instead of a single language, the humans suddenly found themselves speaking multiple languages. Unable to understand each other anymore, they scattered across the world.