The announcement by the social media giant Facebook to launch its own native digital token dubbed as ‘Libra‘ as per the white paper released, is perhaps the biggest announcement Cryptoverse has seen in its short history of a decade. More on this & some other recent developments later. Unexpectedly though, the noise around Libra coin didn’t have any discernible impact on the prices of mainstream Cryptos. Bitcoin, the crypto kingpin is consolidating just below the high of over $9400 reached earlier. BTC dominance stands at 57.3% with the total market cap of $284 billion for the Cryptos at the time of publishing.
Libra Coin White paper
The social media giant has decided not to leave the field empty for the mainstream Cryptos by launching its own native token. With more than 2.5 billion users under its belt – it would certainly hurt the major players in the legacy financial system more than doing any harm to the decentralized Cryptocurrencies. Let’s review some of the major features of Project Libra:
- Easily convertible into your local currency, Libra coin can be spent like fiat money without the big transaction fee or revealing your identity, making it a good medium of exchange.
- Libra’s value will be pegged to a basket of bank deposits and short-term government securities & kept in a Libra Reserve which would be responsible for the exchange between Libra coins & fiat currencies.
- A not-for-profit organization called ‘Libra Association‘ will govern the project and has 28 founding members (infographic below) – Facebook intends to reach 100 members before the official launch in 2020 & it’s open to direct tech competitors like Google or Twitter.
- Each founding member has paid $10 million to become a validator node operator and gaining one vote in the Libra Association council which would also be governing the Libra Reserve. Facebook gets only one vote as well.
- The transactions process on a blockchain based ledger employs the Byzantine Fault Tolerance Protocol, where two-thirds of the nodes need to reach a consensus to validate a transaction. The Libra blockchain uses the Move programming language.
- The Libra blockchain is designed to handle 1,000 TPS (transactions per second). The digital ledger is operated & verified by the founding members of Libra Association.
- A subsidiary by the name of Calibra will act as the wallet for the Libra coin, process all the crypto dealings & the handle the privacy the users’ data – this will be the toughest part considering FB has been in hot waters with security breaches last year.
On the flip side, Facebook has admitted to revealing all the digital transactions to authorities thus taking a divergent path from the mainstream Cryptos. Technically speaking, Libra coin is just another centralized stable coin pegged to a basket of fiat currencies used for cross border payments. But it would certainly help fuel the general crypto adoption in the financial ecosystem. If you want to learn more about the project refer to this useful article from Tech Crunch.
Helium IoT Hotspots
This innovative blockchain solution intends to build the World’s First peer-to-peer wireless network. Napster creator Shawn Fanning’s company Helium has released its IoT wireless hot spot devices. It’s being called the People’s Network where each hot spot device not only powers the reward system for the hosts, but powers many square miles of connectivity for the users. Initial testing of these devices under different conditions in multiple U.S cities has revealed that 50 to 150 hot spots will be enough to provide complete coverage to a city. Higher density would of course mean better coverage.
The network employs “Proof-of-Coverage” protocol to verify the legitimacy of other nodes, which is much less energy intensive than the traditional PoW protocol. The hotspot devices are now available through the Helium store on their website & the first batch would be shipped to the launch city of Austin (U.S) in 6-8 weeks while nationwide U.S shipping will start in Q4 2019. The company intends to expand internationally to 100 countries – the best way to participate is by signing up on their Waitlist on their website. The company is also exploring different use cases by working with partners like Invisileash (pet tracking), Lime (scooter sharing), Agulus (farming tech) & more.
GRAM tokens on Liquid Exchange
The highly anticipated public sale of the Gram token – the native coin for the upcoming TON (Telegram Open Network) blockchain will be held on the popular fiat to crypto Liquid exchange on July 10th. TON will deploy sometime in the third quarter of 2019 for its user base of 260 million. The token sale would be carried out by Gram Asia – the largest holder of Grams from Asia. Participants in the sale can buy Grams using USD & USDC, but will need to meet the electronic verification requirements which includes submitting a government issued ID and a selfie. The exchange will have the TON-compatible wallet integrated into its platform & the sale participants will have their Gram tokens delivered to them with the main net launch of TON blockchain.
VISA’s Cross-Border Network
Apart from being one of the founding members of the Libra Coin, the international payment processing giant has recently launched “Visa B2B Connect” – a cross-border payment network for its corporate clients. The new network connects 30 trade channels and is expected to cover 90 markets by the end 2019. It seeks to simplify transactions between the businesses from their bank to the beneficiary bank, thus removing the intermediary which is usually the case in traditional banking system. Although not entirely a blockchain network, the system contains some elements of the Digital Ledger technology as it simplifies the process & removes friction points between international payment transactions. The move also seems to be one more effort on part of VISA to expand its reach beyond Credit Car payments as it is foresees a tougher competition from innovative players.