Hammersmith: Chinese Crypto-Currency vs Facebook’s Libra - spot the difference!

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"The People’s Bank of China announced earlier this year that it was working on a digital currency backed by the yuan, reportedly inspired Facebook’s announcement. Analysts and crypto industry leaders are highlighting geopolitical implications of China launching a digital currency first — especially if Libra hits a brick wall with U.S. regulators."

Source: As Facebook’s Libra faces headwinds, China is racing to launch its own global cryptocurrency
Link: https://www.cnbc.com/2019/10/15/china-races-to-launch-a-cryptocurrency-that-could-rival-facebooks.html

Starting from the information contained in this article, we will try to shed light on the fundamental differences existing between the two crypto-currencies. One backed by state power and the other, Libra, backed by…well this is precisely the question, by what sort of power? We will compare the two currencies by asking ourselves a few questions such as: who regulates the currency? Who manages it? Is it backed by any ‘reserve’? How do people acquire it? How is its stability ensured? Can the currency go bankrupt?

It will emerge that although similar in many ways, the two crypto-currencies have different aims. They are both trying to undermine the position of the dollar as the main international exchange and reserve currency but for different purposes: in the Chinese case to replace (at least in part) the power that the dollar grants the US, in the Libra case probably to ‘supersede' the dollar but not its power, that is, to replace the vehicle without replacing the driver….This is our interpretation, of course, and you can disagree!

Our co-organiser, Costanza Picchioni, will give a brief introduction highlighting the basic issues involved, and then we will start the discussion. All contributions are welcome, especially from people who know a bit about crypto-currencies!

Tanveer Saifee
Group organiser, Hammersmith

Optional donation of £4 (to help cover running costs).