The right horse, the wrong jockey: why Facebook’s Libra has a PR problem

Jenny Corlett, Blockchain PR specialist at Aspectus Group

In City AM last week, I discussed the rocky waters surrounding Libra’s struggle for acceptance and whether Facebook is the right company for the job.

This stemmed from a discussion at the World Blockchain Forum in New York. One of the speakers asked who in the audience thought Libra was likely to succeed in taking cryptocurrencies mainstream. About half the room raised their hands. He then followed with: “Who wants it to be Facebook that achieves this?” All hands were hastily lowered.

It isn’t just the crypto industry who have responded like this. Several governments have moved to block it and 7 of its 28 backers have gotten cold feet and abandoned the project altogether.

This is a shame, because at its core Libra is an excellent idea. Currently, 1.7 billion adults in the world don’t have access to a bank account, however the percentage of that demographic which doesn’t have access to social media or a smartphone is dramatically lower.

Having a stable digital currency which transcends borders and is useable by anyone with access to a smartphone would democratise global payments, allowing people who have previously been shut out by the financial system to send and receive cash on a daily basis.

As a result, I explore the following question in more detail: would the currency have had more success if it was launched by a less controversial company?

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