After months of intense speculation, several market roller coaster rides at CryptoLand, and the possibility of a USD 5 billion fine from Uncle Sam’s Federal Trade Commission, Facebook is set to leave the blockchain space ablaze on 18 June when it reportedly unveils details about its cryptocurrency, now codenamed Libra. We are sure Mark Zuckerberg commands pristine views of any zodiac constellation anytime he desires from his def Palo Alto crib, but in many ways some of Facebook’s fate could hang in the balance – à la the scales of Libra. Oh, Irony, hast thou blue thumb pointeth upwards?
On 30 January 2019, CEO Zuckerberg announced FB’s financial results for calendar year 2018, blissfully reporting a 38% year-over-year climb in Advertising Revenue to USD 55.01 billion, a 39% y/y climb in Net income to US$ 22.1 billion, and a 40% y/y gain in Diluted Earnings per Share (EPS) to USD 7.57. In tandem with those financial results, Zuckerberg announced “(Facebook has) fundamentally changed how we run our company to focus on the biggest social issues, and we’re investing more to build new and inspiring ways for people to connect.”
At the same time, Facebook is being subjected to greater attacks and more criticism than ever before, with a vociferous chorus of policymakers and regulators calling for him to be replaced on both sides of the Atlantic.
Turning to network metrics – because that’s what is really of interest to blockchain blowhards – Facebook noted its Daily active users (DAUs) totaled 1.52 billion on average in December 2018, and its Monthly active users (MAUs) were 2.32 billion as of 31 December 2018, meaning both measures were up about 9% y/y. Likewise, Facebook reported that approximately 2.7 billion people globally use Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, or Messenger – its “Family” of services – each month. If there are really 7.7 billion potential cryptocurrency users humans on Earth today as the United Nations would have us believe, that would mean that 35.06% of us have lives that intersect with Facebook’s social sect every 30 days.
The Federal Reserve reigns supreme over the short end of the yield curve with its arsenal of (still) unorthodox monetary policy tools and moral suasion, and Chairman Powell may be having a panicked conniption with the 10-year yield at an inverted 2.12% and the 1-month yield at 2.31% - especially with at least USD 80 trillion in US dollar broad money assets responsive to the Fed’s machinations.
The efficacy of global policymaking – be it monetary, financial, regulatory, or legislative – is increasingly being called into question nowadays, however, in this disintermediated world where 35.06% of the world’s population orbits Planet Zuck, and the remaining 64.94% are his hopefuls who may one day visit a spacey syzygy nearby. As old stalwart transmission mechanisms including the yield curve, the equity markets, and financial regulations are slowly being usurped and attenuated by peer-to-peer networks, the cryptocurrency market, and a plethora of “come bring your novelty du jour” sandboxes from financial regulators, it provides unbridled opportunities for network overlords like Zuckerberg to expand their Facebook fiefdoms over us serfs and vassals who contributed to his USD 22.1 billion windfall last year.
Facebook’s Jekyll Island-moment will supposedly arrive on 18 June when its White Paper is likely to be published. Under excruciating secrecy that could rival the middle-of-the-night clandestineness when some masters of the financial universe secretly boarded a train in Hoboken, New Jersey bound for Jekyll Island, Georgia to reportedly plan the underpinnings of the Federal Reserve, Facebook may also announce that its cryptocurrency is tied to a basket of fiat, and not just the US dollar. Unlike the three years it took for US legislators to get things in motion that led to the Fed’s founding in 2013, it may not take Facebook that long. Reportedly, its cryptocurrency will debut in 2020.
News from the BBC that Facebook’s crypto will be called GlobalCoin is likely inaccurate. Reuters is reporting that Facebook now has a Swiss entity called Libra Networks that could deliver some financial services. Notably, Facebook’s cryptocurrency could be a stablecoin that is pegged to a series of fiat and perhaps even some low-risk, marketable securities. Sayonara, Tether?
The prospect of being able to transfer “Mark’s Money” at zero fees via Facebook “Family” applications is a daunting one that could disintermediate this crazy world even further. Will 35.06% of the world’s population soon be saying good-bye to credit card fees?
The next eleven days are sure to be awash with many rumours leading up to Zuck’s zestful zaniness. If some of these rumours have credence, the other 64.94% of us may find ourselves soon updating our Relationship Statuses with blue thumbs and all.
Indeed, P.T. Barnum was right: There is likely a Zucker born every minute!