Facebook to launch new global currency

Bad penny: Our imagining of what a Libra coin might look like, inspired by a US penny.

This week, Facebook announced it is building a new currency called Libra that will make it as easy to send money around the world as it is to send a WhatsApp message. Is this a good idea?

What’s happening

Facebook is already one of the world’s richest companies. It runs the world’s biggest social media site, as well as owning WhatsApp and Instagram. This week, it launched an ambitious new project: a digital currency called Libra. Facebook hopes that it will transform the future of money.

Find out more

Up to 100 different companies are involved with Libra, including Uber, Mastercard and PayPal. It will be run by an independent organisation in Switzerland.

Facebook will build the technology for people to transfer money using apps like WhatsApp and Messenger. The idea is to create a stable currency that is the same no matter where you live. It will be especially useful for people whose local currency is having problems, or who do not have their own bank account.

There are 1.7 billion people in the world without a bank account. It is currently very expensive for them to transfer money. Libra would take a much smaller fee.

However, one politician in the US warned that Facebook is becoming “too big and too powerful”. Is Libra a good idea?

Some say…

Yes! According to David Marcus, the man in charge of running the project, Libra could be “a profound change for the entire world”. It will make handling money easier, cheaper, faster and fairer. Over a third of the world already uses Facebook, or one of its other services. Now, they will be able to exchange money as if they are in the same country.

Others think…

We should not trust Facebook with something so important. It says that it will protect the privacy of Libra’s users, but it has made such promises in the past — only to leak millions of Facebook account details. What’s more, digital currencies are often used to hide illegal activity, such as selling drugs. Facebook should stay in its lane.

You Decide

  1. Do you trust Facebook?

Activities

  1. At the top of this story, we have imagined what a Libra coin might look like, inspired by a US penny. Have a go at designing your own currency. This could be a coin or a note. Make sure you give it a good name!

Some People Say...

“The biggest risk is not taking any risk.”

Mark Zuckerberg

What do you think?

Word Watch

Social media
Websites that allow users to share content with each other.
Ambitious
Determination to succeed.
Currency
A system of money, such as dollars or pounds.
Independent
Not influenced by outsiders.
Stable
Fixed and steady.
Fee
Charge.
Profound
Important, meaningful.

Subjects

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