Michael Shaulov, FireBlocks CEO and co-founder, was delighted to damp down the panel’s zeal for Facebook’s Libra. The verbal tussle happened during Consensus: Distributed, a gathering of key influencers in crypto, blockchain, government, academia, and entertainment (May 11 – 15).
The chief executive of Liquidity providers, Ran Goldi, who stands firm on the motto “We believe in Libra” emphasized that he would not be astonished to see other stablecoins being launched on Libra.
Goldi commented that FireBlocks had brought about more than $7 billion worth of trades monthly. He went on to say that large liquidity providers on FireBlocks will soon be part of the Libra ecosystem.
Goldi posed a question on why FireBlocks had not joined the Libra Association, although its main rival Anchorage is a founding member. Shaulov clarified FireBlocks and Anchorage were NOT competitors.
FireBlocks CEO apparently not keen on Libra
The CEO of FireBlocks shifted to the main point:
We were at a dilemma of whether to join Libra or not at that very moment, after doing a lot of assessment we discovered that being part of Libra at that time wouldn’t help us.
FireBlocks CEO Shaulov did not clarify and silence pervaded the channel. More than seven companies have bailed on Libra less than a year down the line.
Shaulov added to break the ice:
If we were part of the association, I would not be on this panel.
What important feature is missing in Libra?
Shaulov argued stablecoins, more broadly, has exciting potential, but when Goldi asked what were some of the key features missing from Libra, Shaulov didn’t pause or mince words. Just going live, Shaulov said, is the most important feature to cross out from the list.
Libra’s future remains murky. Facebook is months away—at least—from actually launching a network. The documents Facebook released left a lot of unanswered questions about how the network will actually work—and in particular, how the network will deal with the wide range of legal and regulatory requirements that apply to payment networks.
FireBlocks CEO highlighted the fact that a stablecoin’s value is in going live, like in the value of the pudding is in the eating.
What’s coming for Facebook’s Libra?
The Libra network was initially designed for much higher throughput. Libra’s technical white paper states:
We anticipate the initial launch of Libra protocol to support 1,000 payment transactions per second.
Libra aims for a much shorter 10-second finality time compared to Bitcoin. This is easier for Libra to achieve because it has a much smaller number of validation nodes, each of which can be assumed to have fast network connections.
Facebook shocked the globe the previous summer when Facebook revealed plans for the Libra, “a new world payment system.” Nevertheless, it did not take long for financial regulators worldwide to come down hard in what was generally viewed as Facebook launching its own global currency and scared some early backers.
Now the firebrand effort has a fresh leader in HSBC Stuart Levey. His appointment is seen as a tactical move to please the regulators. Levey’s blended cybersecurity experience and bank-government insider contacts qualify him with flying colors. But let’s see if Facebook’s credibility will be restored by him, alongside Libra.
Libra had planned to launch by the end of June. Lately, an announcement was made clarifying the date to be between mid-November and the end of the year. Let’s see if Fireblocks CEO uncross out “going live” for Libra when this happens.