Facebook’s cryptocurrency, officially unveiled on Tuesday, heralds the rise of the corporation-government, potentially shaping the already vast powers of the Silicon Valley giants into a borderless, unaccountable techno-oligarchy.
The crystal ball is dark, and we should be afraid.
Facebook’s cryptocurrency, Libra, is to be used in a standalone application or its messaging platform, à la China’s popular WeChat. If greenlit by regulators, that pushes the technology world past a significant and dangerous threshold – it was already powerful, and we knew it, but never like this.
Silicon Valley has risen to lure top talent from Wall Street and rival it for business-world top dog. Its power grows as we conduct more of our lives online, even as our reliance on banking hasn’t changed much. But while there has been significant cross-pollination, the two camps have mostly kept to their own lanes – until now.
WeChat Pay has become so prevalent in China that anyone using cash is instantly marked as a tourist. Facebook’s pseudo-Bitcoin has the potential to do that for the rest of the world – and more. It is already emblematic of a wider tech invasion in finance. More may follow.