This week, after months of speculation and anticipation, the world of cryptocurrencies and blockchain were finally greeted with Facebook’s upcoming project. This project is being overseen by a subsidiary of Facebook, known as Calibra.
While the official launch won’t occur for several more months, details of the project have been released, including a thorough whitepaper.
Calibra will provide its clients with a digital wallet. This wallet will allow for users of Calibra, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp, to easily send and receive tokens between one another. These tokens, known as Libra, are intended to function similarly to a stablecoin, and are ‘pegged’ to the various FIAT currencies, through use of currency pool known as the ‘Libra Asset Reserve’.
Among various factors, many believe the anticipation for this release has helped aid in the market recovery being experienced over the past months. While there has been a generally positive reaction to the project thus far, it time will tell if we see a major sell-off, post announcement.
Reactions to the whitepaper release have been positive for a variety of reasons, with one being noted above all – awareness.
While it may seem odd to those involved with crypto and blockchain, the majority of the population has minimal knowledge on the industry. Facebook has a massive, global reach, and with their entrance, an enormous amount of people will gain exposure to what crypto is, and what it can offer.
Beyond simply raising awareness, there are those that have viewed this news in a negative light. Facebook has already been guilty of poor security practices, along with gathering obscene amounts of data on the public. Do we really want a corporation with such a reputation now gaining intimate knowledge on our finances as well? While there are those that prioritize privacy, the simple convenience of the offering will trump privacy for many.
While much of the information divulged in their whitepaper release is unsurprising, many were not expecting the release of TWO tokens.
The tokens to be released include not only the aforementioned ‘Libra’, but a second which will act as a security token. This will be known as the Libra Investment Token. This token will be distributed to early investors, with the proceeds of its sale being used to generate the Libra Asset Reserve (the asset pool used to ‘back-up’ the frontline Libra tokens).
Investors in the Libra Investment Token will be part of the Libra Association Council. Each will receive equity share in the reserve, providing them with dividends garnered from the interest generated on the reserve, along with certain voting rights. For full details on the benefits and responsibilities of being a council member, check out the Libra Council Principles page, HERE.
While the backing of Facebook may be enough to make Calibra a success, they will not need to do it on their own. Based on the promise of the platform, Facebook has managed to get the backing of over 25 various companies. These companies include, but are not limited to, the following.
Each of these companies is a founding member of the Libra Association Council. With a minimum $10 million contribution each, this means that the reserve pool is well on its way towards generating a beginning target of $1 billion.
While the public may be willing to accept this new offering with open arms, governments are more hesitant to do so. Simply put, governing bodies needs assurances on how the data and assets in use will be used.
This has already been made evident as the Senate Banking Committee of the United States has scheduled a hearing for July 16th. The purpose of this hearing is to discuss the Calibra project, and the potential concerns which may arise through its use.
On an interesting note, Calibra has not filed with the Reserve Bank of India, for the usage and dispersion of Libra within the country. With India representing the most populous nation in the world, this is a large market set to be left untapped. While these are early days, previous stances taken by Indian authorities should prove difficult to surmount. Despite this, the global presence of Facebook should still prove enough to lift Libra to great heights.
While Facebook is a huge, global influencer, they are not the only company of this stature. Along with Facebook, there have been rumblings in recent months that competitors such as Amazon and Alibaba will be releasing their own offerings.
This, however, has recently been shut down, as these competitors have indicated that there are no immediate plans for diving in to the industry. The speculation has garnered a response from the Vice President of Amazon, Patrick Gaulthier. At a recent conference, he commented on Calibra, stating,
“It’s fresh, it’s speculative; at Amazon, we don’t really deal with the speculative, in the now…At Amazon, we deal with data a lot, so I’ll be happy to have that conversation two or three years from now.”
Overall, the Calibra project exudes more positive than negative. While Facebook stands to gain even more user data, they are providing the world with a means to efficiently transfer value. Beyond the convenience of use, this has the potential to positively impact millions of unbanked individuals around the world – giving access to a better way of life along the way. This has been a goal of Bitcoin since the beginning, and whether this is achieved through Libra, or through Bitcoin, it has come one step closer to being reality.
Word on the Streets
With the potential that this project holds, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it has caught the attention of many. Here are a variety of quotes from noteworthy individuals, expressing their thoughts on Calibra.
Jonathan DeCarteret, CEO of INDX, stated,
“Facebook’s LIBRA coin will most probably reshape the payment industry and quite possibly the de-dollarization of the world economy.”
Markus Feber, Member of German Parliament, stated,
“If Facebook will expose its two billion users to the risks of virtual currencies, this would be a good reason for the European Commission to start work on a proper regulatory framework governing the rules of virtual currencies”
Anthony Pompliano, Cofounder of Morgan Creek Digital, stated,
“Imagine a world where Facebook’s digital wallet, Calibra, didn’t just custody financial assets, but also allowed you to store and permission your data. One Wallet. Every asset you own. Low probability of happening, but high potential impact. Wilder things have happened.”
Andreas Antonopoulos, Bitcoin Advocate, stated,
“While Facebook’s Libra doesn’t compete against any open, public, permissionless, borderless, neutral, censorship-resistant blockchains, it *will* compete against both retail banks and central banks. This is going to be fun to watch.”
AssetBlock Tokenizes $60 Million Real Estate Fund
This week has seen some dramatic events take place in the blockchain real estate sector. Notably, AssetBlock announced the tokenization of $60 million in real estate funds. The news demonstrates the further expansion of blockchain technology into the traditional real estate market, and AssetBlock’s desire to become a major player in the sector.
News first broke of the tokenization on September 17 via a BusinessWire press release. In the post, AssetBlock sheds some light on the strategies in place and how the company plans to disrupt the traditional markets.
AssetBlock Utilizes Algorand Blockchain
Uniquely, AssetBlock chose to tokenize the properties on the Proof-of-Stake blockchain – Algorand. The Algorand blockchain brings some interesting benefits to the table including compliance, global reach, and a strong team of experienced experts.
As such, the Algorand blockchain is built to be sustainable and governed by open operating standards. Another important point worth mentioning is that Algorand blocks finalize in seconds. In essence, this strategy makes it possible for investor participation globally and instantly.
As a Proof-of-Stake blockchain, the energy consumption is far less than a Proof-of-Work (PoW) blockchain such as Bitcoin. Algorand uses a proprietary version of PoS dubbed Pure Proof of Stake (PPoS). This protocol provides full participation while leaving users protected at all times. The system is able to achieve consensus without the need for a central authority making truly decentralized.
Lodging Capital Partners LCP
To make this advantageous maneuver, AssetBlock enlisted Lodging Capital Partners (LCP). LCP currently holds over $1.5 billion in international real estate. For their part, LCP provided the properties to be tokenized.
In this particular instance, AssetBlock chose to tokenize $60 million in luxury hotel properties. According to company executives, these properties are only available to blockchain investors.
AssetBlock – More Opportunities
Speaking on the decision, AssetBlock CEO, Mike Lidell touched on the importance of merging traditional and non-traditional investors in an efficient manner. He explained that this is the best way to create more opportunities for everyone in the market.
Additionally, Steve Kisielica, the Principal CIO of LCP described how the maneuver creates a new investment pool in the market. He also spoke on the responsibility companies have in terms of embracing new technology that simplifies the market.
AssetBlock officials are serious about getting these tokens out to investors. The company officially earmarked the token launch for mid-October.
Real Estate is Growing Digital
The company’s decision mirrors that of some of the biggest players in the game in some aspects. Just this week, Securities reported on Harbor tokenizing $100 million in real estate funds for much of the same reason.
You have to give it to AssetBlock for it’s out of the box thinking. Utilizing a Proof-of-Stake blockchain is a great way to avoid future issues related to energy consumption. You can expect this deal to boost the notoriety of all the firms involved, as well as the possibilities of using PoS blockchains for tokenized real estate.
TokenMarket Streamlining to Focus on Digital Securities
Today it was announced that PayRue has acquired a cryptocurrency exchange, developed by TokenMarket.
With PayRue already holding the appropriate licensing in Estonia to launch an exchange, it is expected that the service will go live sooner than later.
This move goes beyond simply taking control of a cryptocurrency exchange, however. The acquisition is part of a larger partnership which will see the pair of companies work to ensure future integration of services throughout their platforms. The companies state that this integration will benefit their client base, currently numbering over 200,000 and growing.
This acquisition caught our attention, specifically, due to the reasoning behind it. On the part of TokenMarket, this move was undertaken with the intent to focus their efforts more completely on the advancement of the digital securities sector.
Over the past few months, TokenMarket, has made it clear that this is where they believe the future lies, and are hitching themselves to the wagon. Whether undergoing their own STO, or working to develop services and obtain appropriate licensures, they are quickly setting themselves up to be a leader in the space.
Upon announcing the acquisition and re-focusing efforts discussed here today, representatives from each, PayRue and TokenMarket, took the time to comment. The following is what the CEO of each company had to say on the matter.
Mikael Olofsson, CEO of PayRue, stated,
“Working with TokenMarket on a cryptocurrency trading platform is an exciting development for PayRue. Some may see the exchange market as crowded, but our view is that regulated decentralised exchanges are the next evolution and very few companies are prepared for this. We believe that our users will benefit from the security and transparency that centralised exchanges are currently failing to deliver, as showcased with the continuous hacks and fake trading volume”
Ransu Salovaara, CEO at TokenMarket, stated,
“We are excited to work with PayRue as we believe there will be a monumental shift to regulated wallets and exchanges. This partnership allows us to put all our focus on token issuance and the tokenised securities market, which we expect will be a billion dollar business in the coming years.”
Speaking with Mikko
We recently had the pleasure of completing an exclusive interview with the Chief Technology Officer of TokenMarket – Mikko Ohtamaa. In this interview, Mikko, discusses, not only his own foray into blockchain, but the future of TokenMarket within the industry.
Founded in 2017, TokenMarket is a crowdfunding platform based out of Gibraltar. Their efforts are focused on the development of the digital securities sector, through the use of blockchain technologies. To date, TokenMarket has assisted various companies’ complete successful token sales. This includes Storj, Ethos, and more.
CEO, Ransu Salovaara, currently oversees company operations.
Operating out of London, England, PayRue is a tech company which offers services surrounding cryptocurrencies. This includes a mobile payment app, along with the acquired capabilities discussed here today.
CEO, Mikael Olofsson, currently oversees company operations.
In Other News
To date, we have detailed developments pertaining to TokenMarket on various occasions. The following articles elaborate on a few of their developments from the past year.
WORBLI Looks to Make STOs More Affordable
This week, the World Blockchain Initiative – WORBLI – announced plans to revolutionize the STO sector. To accomplish this monumental task, the firm plans to create the world’s most cost-effective and pro-developer blockchain ecosystem to date. The news signals a key shift in strategy by smaller firms, as well as, a continued interest by companies seeking a blockchain-based IPO alternative.
World Blockchain Initiative WORBLI
The WORBLI platform is an STO ecosystem which allows businesses to share in the firm’s extensive library of decentralized apps (Dapps) without the need to hire custom developers. Think of WORBLI as kind of like a blockchain a la carte. In this manner, users can pick exactly what services they require and integrate these services without creating a large workload.
According to WORBLI executives, the platform’s design enables endless possibilities for future developers. For example, a client can add GEO Fencing to their security token. This feature ensures that the token never is sold outside the compliance region.
Identity-based Financial Tiers
Another cool feature is the ability to utilize identity-based financial tiers. You can compartmentalize your STO and only allow certain investors the ability to participate in particular investments. This feature allows firms to better market services to accredited-investors without cutting out smaller contributors.
WORBLI Works on Any Blockchain
Perhaps the most impressive feature of the WORBLI platform is that it can function on any blockchain. Allowing users to choose their favorite blockchain is a smart way to facilitate market integration, and gain trust from users.
In a recent post, WORBLI developers spoke on the rising costs associated with traditional IPOs. Notably, the company pointed out that soon, only mega-corporations will have the capital to host one. To add to the point, developers also spoke on the recent closures of numerous blockchain firms after the institution of more expensive regulatory framework derailed their budgets.
However, one of the most interesting points covered in the post was the fact that these costs also stifle innovation. This innovation is critical for the development of the digital economy. This is why WARBLI set out to create a platform that delivers STO services at an affordable rate in the first place.
WARBLI Network Expands
Most recently, WORLI made headlines after partnering with a blockchain-based digital content timestamp platform called WordProof. WordProof allows content creators to prove ownership of their creations easily and with the validity of the blockchain.
Another noteworthy partnership WORBLI made is with EDNA. EDNA is a DNA firm that seeks to bring more transparency to the DNA market. Currently, DNA firms have little accountability. This lack of transparency has led to a rise in public concern about the use of their DNA after the testing ends.
WORBLI Has a Smart Strategy
WORBLI seems to have a new approach to the STO market. The fact that users can utilize their favorite blockchain could be a big draw for businesses familiar with cryptocurrencies. For now, the firm looks to become a major force in the space.