Is Facebook’s Libra Coin a Cryptocurrency?

Samantha Standish
Jun 18 · 4 min read

“Facebook’s Libra coin is digital money.”

How you label something determines what it is. When I was in law, I’d always volunteer to do the first draft in a contract negotiation because you’d get the “power of the drafter.” You’d add in all of the provisions that you wanted from the very beginning, and then the other side would have to work to remove the things that they didn’t like. You see, it’s easier to draft something in than it is to get it removed. From such a simple act, you’d give yourself some leverage in the negotiation. Initially, it was more work for me, but in the end, it made the negotiation easier. This was especially true in situations where we didn’t have any leverage. The power of writing the first draft could make or break the deal.

Cryptocurrency is in the first draft stage right now. How things are labeled will make a difference in the process of adoption. The cryptocurrency world can render things much easier for itself by being clear about how things are labeled. So, to be clear, cryptocurrency and digital money are not the same thing. Digital money has existed for some time. Cryptocurrency is new. Cryptocurrency is a technology that’s based on philosophical changes.

A Changed Perspective

The present monetary system is a reflection of the idea of hierarchy. To have a hierarchy, you have to have a global population that assumes that this is a condition of reality. While there are still some people on the planet that believe in hierarchy, most people are now aware that hierarchy isn’t a condition of reality itself. It’s not mandatory. They know that hierarchy is a choice. Most people no longer buy into the idea that they’re subject to this choice. This change in perspective has already happened. The systems that are now forming — things like blockchain and cryptocurrency — are a result of that change in perspective.

The new assumption, the assumption that’s already happened, is that of equal entitlement. Therefore, the new systems are beginning to reflect that assumption. So, people are looking for, and building, systems that are cooperative. Cooperative systems are founded on the idea of freedom. Cryptocurrency is one of these reflections of the present social change. It’s built on the idea of equal entitlement and freedom.

Digital Money Is About Control

For this reason, it’s important to note that cryptocurrency is not digital money. Digital money is about limited access to resources in order to maintain hierarchies.

Cryptocurrency uses digital technology, but it could use other technology because the form is just the means. The substance of cryptocurrency is the philosophy that drives the technology, and that philosophy is the belief in equal entitlement and freedom to resources. This isn’t going away. This is part of a global evolution of humanity that is well underway now.

Therefore, cryptocurrency isn’t about investments and making money. It’s not about control. The world has already done that. Cryptocurrency is about cooperation and expansion.

It’s a misnomer to call cryptocurrency digital money because cryptocurrency is a vehicle for expanding human potential. It’s not just “money,” and it’s not just “digital.” Cryptocurrency is reshaping the way humans interact. It’s a vehicle to facilitate human interaction, and it holds no limits unless we limit it.

There are going to be a number of people that don’t realize what’s going on under the surface of these changes to the financial system and try to hold on to the old ways of doing things out of fear or habit of control. They’re going to label many things “cryptocurrency” that aren’t cryptocurrency. It will be digital money in a shiny new dress. The average person is going to have to get saavy and look at everything with a discerning eye. Here are some basic questions to help with that process:

  1. Does someone else have the ability to deny you access and participation with the “cryptocurrency?”
  2. Is the mechanism running the “cryptocurrency” centralized in the hands of a few people or a few companies?
  3. Is someone or something denying you the ability to access and move the “cryptocurrency” whenever you want to whomever you want?

If the answer is “yes” to any of those questions, then it’s not cryptocurrency. It’s digital money. The philosophy of freedom and access, that state of permissionless action, is what makes cryptocurrency what it is. Therefore, it’s only cryptocurrency if you have the ability to make the decision to participate with it, the mechanisms that run it are open and decentralized, and you’re the one that controls the movement of the currency (you have the private keys).

For now, cryptocurrency is a decentralized, distributed ledger with certain cryptographic features that allows you full control to participate with the ledger without permission from anyone. That’s what makes it different from digital money. No one can deny your participation.

The form of cryptocurrency may change, the technology may be different as things move along, but the purpose will remain the same. It’s to facilitate freedom and cooperation to expand the potentials of the human race. That’s what makes it different from digital money.

Samantha Standish

Written by

I’m a writer. I focus on the why behind the what.

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