Facebook Libra
Facebook announced that it will launch Libra, its cryptocurrency, in 2020. The move has attracted optimism and dissent. [Photo: france24]

Amid the swathe of accusations, allegations and calls for oversight that converge to alley mistrust in Facebook, it is probably the tech firm’s handling of private data that could influence uptake on its cryptocurrency.

Set for launch in the first half of 2020, the cryptocurrency announced on June 18 and known as Libra is set to change the crypto landscape.

Reactions have been mixed. There has been optimism and discontent. Restraint and caution. The announcement of Libra has at least gained Facebook the spotlight, not that the Mark Zuckerberg led company badly needs it.

And, like the sort of publicity that Facebook has been getting of late, especially since the Cambridge Analytica scandal came to light, the reactions are varied.

With Libra, launched as a “global currency and financial infrastructure”, the cryptocurrency initiative seeks to reach around 1.7 billion people around the world who do not have access to a bank account.

“It’s probably the mainstream kickstart + broad adoption blockchain needs,” Spencer Chen, the Vice President global market of BRD tweeted.

However, in the US, lawmakers are reportedly against the move by the giant social media company.

“Facebook has data on billions of people and has repeatedly shown a disregard for the protection and careful use of that data,” a US lawmaker Maxine Waters said in a publicly available statement.

The lawmaker, who has been backed by some of her colleagues, said that Facebook’s lack of oversight did not bode well with the fact that cryptocurrency remains largely unregulated.

“Facebook is continuing its unchecked expansion and extending its reach into the lives of its users. The cryptocurrency market currently lacks a clear regulatory framework to provide strong protection for investors, consumers and the economy,” she added.

In Kenya, Libra could reach the potential of over 12 million people in the country who use Facebook. The social media platform is also particularly popular, leading all other forums in as far as mobile phone use is concerned.

However, for the Kenyan market, it still remains of interest to see how Libra will trade, bearing in mind that cryptocurrency is yet to take off in the country. Even then cryptocurrency is popular in various countries globally with organisations such as Crypto Head taking the lead in educating new and experienced users about the industry so they can make informed decisions.

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