When Facebook announced its new digital currency, Libra, on June 18, the company changed the conversation about the viability of cryptocurrencies. It immediately surmounted one of the most important obstacles: users. With 2.7 billion customers across its platform (that includes Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp), Facebook has a user base like no other. Unlike most crypto projects, Facebook doesn’t have to convince people to sign up: It has them, and Libra will be integrated into apps that are already a part of their daily lives.
Facebook has also benefitted from a decade of bitcoin’s trial and error. Researchers like Christian Catalini—head economist for Facebook’s Calibra wallet and founder of MIT’s cryptoeconomics lab—understand potential attack vectors. Facebook also realizes the importance of building a clean user interface (oddly, something that remains a struggle for many crypto-native organizations).
Though we’re six months-plus from Libra’s launch, Facebook has changed the outlook for many existing crypto industry players. Some could be instrumental to Libra’s future, while others may be rendered obsolete. Here’s a closer look at the winners and losers:
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