As it turns out, government officials and members of the G7 are not the only ones who came down with criticism on Facebook and its much-discussed digital currency Libra. A few days ago, Open Markets Institute, a very reputable independent non-profit organization that reveals the instances of monopolization and tries to counteract it by means of journalism, issued a joint press release with other well-known NGOs, appealing to Libra’s partners to abandon the controversial project.
In this open letter, a group of influential organizations from the fields of business, technology, and finance which, apart from Open Market Institute, included Demand Progress Education Fund, Revolving Door Project, and Public Citizen, appealed to the conscience of the so-called Libra partners, asking them to muster sufficient strength to make a stand against Facebook’s blatant attempt to monopolize yet another market.
This letter was sent to the 27 companies, the founding members of Libra Association, among which are such globally recognized names as Visa, MasterCard, Uber, Spotify, Vodafone Group, and PayPal. The membership in this Association provides for the right to run a validator node and have one vote at the Libra Association council meeting - all that in exchange for the ‘modest’ affiliation fee of $10 million.
The letter itself said that the recent Senate Banking Committee hearing, which was devoted to Facebook’s official announcement regarding the launch of Libra, convinced the signees that this project bears significant risks in terms of privacy, regulation, and impact on financial stability. But what appears to be the biggest threat, stated Open Markets, is that Facebook is gradually forming a global monopoly not only on personal data of billions of users but also on their financial data, thus undermining the sovereign power of states and national banks.
However, these NGOs placed the emphasis on the fact that they are in full support of the concept of providing the unbanked people around the globe with access to non-conventional financial services, but insist that it mustn’t be done with the hands of the corporation that refrains from being transparent about its objectives and uses its dominant position on the market for unfair leverage. They warned these companies about the danger of Facebook usurping the space and hindering the development of the young and immensely promising technology that is blockchain and its offsprings - cryptocurrencies.
The penners of the letter asked each of the 27 partners to withdraw from the Libra project and thus send a powerful message that the new age of digital technology will not be ruled by a single player, but instead, develop in concordance to fair rules and complete transparency.
The letter was released on June 18, but none of the companies have issued a response as of yet. Certainly, the purpose of this letter was to attract even more media attention to this situation and raise awareness of the general society about the pitfalls of untrusting a substantial chunk of the emerging financial segment into the hands of the corporation with a tarnished reputation.
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