Antonopoulos: Facebook’s Libra Will Be “The AOL” of Cryptocurrency

facebook's libra coin

Libra is “the AOL” of cryptocurrencies, says Bitcoin evangelist Andreas Antonopoulos. The prominent cryptocurrency educator recently compared Libra to America Online.

But he still thinks Libra will be a game changer in the short term, the way AOL was for mainstreaming the Internet rapidly and speeding market adoption to scale.

Antonopoulos said so at a recent talk for the Scottish Blockchain Meetup in Edinburgh, Scotland. His comparison of Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency to the 90’s Internet dial-up service, AOL (America Online) drew wild applause and whistles:

“I’m hopeful because they’re going to introduce a billion people–– to the wrong kind of cryptocurrency, just like AOL introduced almost a billion people to the wrong kind of Internet.”

Antonopoulos followed up on the Libra slight with a serious assessment of the choice facing the world today. Now that corporations are creating pseudo-cryptocurrencies…

“We stand at a fork in the road, because on the one hand we have surveillance money, and on the other hand we have free, open, and private people’s money.”

Facebook’s Libra Is A Game Changer

It is important to note that Libra is not yet a cryptocurrency in the sense that it still doesn’t exist. All that Facebook did to shake up the crypto and legacy finance world last month was release a white paper and start a test net.

There has not yet been a deployment of an actual retail blockchain payment service called Libra. But the waves Libra has made already are understandable.

Though he pokes fun and holes in Libra, Andreas Antonopoulos doesn’t underestimate the scope and scale of Libra’s potential impact. In a recent podcast of Let’s Talk Bitcoin, he made it clear that Libra’s emergence is a major event in the industry.

He even expressed admiration for aspects of the cryptocurrency that he considers sincere attempts by Facebook engineers to create something pure:

“I was impressed because [Libra] promotes a very progressive and aggressive view of what blockchains are, why they exist, and what they can achieve. So I wouldn’t be surprised at all if this came out of the crypto space itself. In fact it very much looks that way.”

But Antonopoulos went on to echo his remarks in Edinburgh.

But It’s Still The AOL of Crypto

He qualified his praise of Libra coin with a good dose of sober reality:

“What actually survives first contact with lawyers and Facebook headquarters may actually be very different from what’s being built.”

He says the very fact that Facebook’s bold entry into the finance industry has created an almost relevant cryptocurrency is what will likely doom it from the beginning.

Antonopoulos predicts the Libra that actually emerges from Facebook’s whitepaper will be neutered by corporate lawyers and executives before it launches:

“They really want to make this as decentralized as they thought they could get away with. And the future plan is to make it even more decentralized in quite a few ways. But then again I have serious doubts as to how much of that is going to survive first contact with either Facebook headquarters or the regulators.”

As for the pressing question of whether Libra is actually even a blockchain, based on the whitepaper, Antonopoulos says yes, it is.

But is it an open, borderless, neutral, censorship resistant, immutable, transparent, audit-able, publicly verifiable blockchain? Anotonopoulos says:

“Mmmmm–– no. No to most of those. It’s trying to be though. And that’s really interesting.”

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.