One of the biggest developments in the world of blockchain and its application in cryptocurrency is the announcement by Facebook of its latest project, Libra. Facebook is working with an impressive array of partners who have each invested $10 million or more in the project.
The system is being run in a surprisingly open manner for a corporate cryptocurrency. Often corporate blockchains follow the basic protocols but have all nodes controlled directly by the corporate owner, such as a bank or insurance company, thereby making them centralized and not shared by disinterested nodes. In contrast, by sharing ownership and governance with many other companies in a nonprofit structure and providing an open source development environment and open blockchain, the system as proposed adheres closely to basic blockchain concepts and architecture.
The goal of Libra is a big one, to provide financial access to the nearly a quarter of the Earth’s population who do not have bank accounts (including 10 million Americans) and to make a cryptocurrency usable for everyday transactions. Bank accounts provide tools to make life easier, reduce predatory fees, and build savings and assets. A non-bank independent solution that is tied to users’ mobile phones has the potential to change the economic status of billions.
If Facebook and its partners do it right, it will put an understandable interface between users and the blockchain that powers their accounts, something that doesn’t yet exist. This will effectively normalize the reality of blockchain by moving it to the background where it belongs.
In his latest blog on the CSI website, Gregory Ceton, CSI, CDT, provides an overview of the developments in the blockchain world that may speed up its implementation in the construction industry.