Anyone living in Asia already has seen the future. In China, you no longer need to walk around with a wallet. A cell phone will allow you to buy noodles on the street using Alipay or WeChat Pay. Last time I was in Shanghai, the vending machines didn’t even accept physical coins or bills.
Digital payments are happening worldwide, whether the US government likes it or not. Many people in the crypto community are focused on decentralization, privacy, and self-sovereignty, and are therefore skeptical of Libra. Let me tell you, the old lady running the noodle shop on my street corner doesn’t care about those things. However, she does use Facebook, and so do all of her customers. If she can all of a sudden accept payments with nearly zero fees and not have to handle cash, there’s no doubt in my mind that she will.
In Thailand, many people buy and sell items peer to peer via Instagram stores or over instant messengers like Line.
Norway, Sweden, and Denmark are a few other largely cashless countries, as both individuals and retail stores continues to embrace online payment systems. Norway has the lowest cash usage in Europe thanks to companies like Vipps, which is used by two-thirds of the Norwegian population.
The desire for convenience is too great. Once the average person starts adopting online payments into their life, paper bills and coin-filled pockets only become an annoyance. So now the important question is: ”Would we rather have a global digital currency controlled by governments and banks or let a company like Facebook bootstrap it?” And is it really bad for us crypto folks — I don’t think so.
There Is No Going Back
One of the largest issues with the crypto ecosystem is onboarding new users. Blockchain tech is still fairly new and there are certainly some hurdles to overcome on the path to mass adoption. But once we have billions of people suddenly able to transfer money via WhatsApp, Messenger, Instagram, and third-party Libra wallets, then millions of shops, hotels, and services around the world will also start accepting Libra coin in the same ways. It will become part of our daily lives, just as the cashless shops and vending machines in China have become.
This means so much for the projects we’re already building in the blockchain space. You will be able to integrate Libra into your existing dapps. It will simply be another payment option you can add alongside cryptocurrencies such as BTC, BNB, ETH, and LOOM. What’s more, platforms like Loom Network are going to support Libra interoperability right out of the box — letting all dapp developers easily accept Libra payments on day 1.
Then once more and more Libra users are interacting with all these blockchain applications, we can slowly introduce them to more decentralized or privacy focused coins. In other words Libra will end up being the gateway drug to mass adoption of major blockchains like Bitcoin and Ethereum.
But Libra Isn’t Really Decentralized, Is It?
The Libra Association is currently a consortium of 20 organizations, and it should be around 100 when the blockchain launches in the first half of 2020. Is it as decentralized as Bitcoin or Ethereum? No — but it doesn’t have to be either. Libra Blockchain is decentralized enough to be able to withstand control from any single party. It’s a nice stepping stone to a larger fully decentralized platform.
Will Move Eventually Replace Solidity?
Move is not a replacement for Solidity. It is a much simpler language designed specifically for creating tokens and payments. We think of Libra Blockchain as akin to Binance Chain; it’s a very focused chain, but if you want to build a full-featured application, you’ll need to use something like Loom Network to add Solidity smart contract support.
We believe the combination of Libra and Loom Network will be incredibly powerful. For example, if you issue tokens using Libra Blockchain, you will be able to build a dapp on Loom to interact with those tokens. This functionality would be very similar to what we have done with our Binance Chain integration.
Libra = payments and tokens; Loom = scaling the business logic of your decentralized app.
Onboarding More Developers
You may have noticed that Loom has been super focused on onboarding developers, and we’ve been going to some meetups in Bangkok recently, including a few for Libra. We were absolutely stunned to see the turn-out at these Libra developer meetups, even a year out from its launch. At one of the first Libra events, more than a hundred devs showed up — and none of them were even blockchain developers!
This confirms our theory that Facebook will be bringing countless developers to this space who just want better payment systems — and for the most part don’t care if they’re crypto-related. They simply see this opportunity of epic proportions being laid out right in front of them.
Together, you and I can introduce these new developers to the world of blockchains and cryptocurrencies.
What if Libra Doesn’t Actually Launch?
We’ve all heard about the Libra hearings with Congress, and some people are saying this project will never see the light of day. Sure, that’s a possibility, but the cat’s already out of the bag. For blockchain technology to compete with the Chinese tech giants Alipay and WeChat, we are going to need a system like this.
If Libra doesn’t end up launching, then it’s very likely just we’ll see Libra clones pop up. And with the amount of new developer interest we’re seeing in Libra, Loom Network is committed to bringing the Move language and all the core Libra payment tech to our platform over time, whether Facebook’s Libra launches or not. Whatever happens, we’re setting our sights on ushering in the next million dapp developers.
A rising tide lifts all boats — in this case, we’re talking billions more people sending digital money like they never have before, from the mobile apps they already use. It’s not hard to see how transformative and disruptive Libra will be on a global scale. And because of this, we’re staring at a golden opportunity to interact with a huge wave of new developers and users.
And so, at Loom Network, we will be adding interoperability support for Libra and Move, enabling developers to create Solidity smart contracts that accept payments or integrate a token on Libra Blockchain.
Through our integration with the Libra blockchain, many of these folks will get introduced to various other blockchains. They will get exposed to better currencies like Bitcoin and Ether. They will learn about how blockchains work. In turn, the entire crypto space will benefit.
Bring on Libra — we are ready for the next billion crypto users!
Loom Network is the blockchain platform of choice for serious dapp developers, providing the tools they need to build functional user-facing dapps today.