Although many diehard decentralists are cynical of Libra, calling it another facet of modern society’s Big Brother, it has undoubtedly boosted the broader cryptocurrency and blockchain industry.
In fact, according to a recent research note posted by Bitwise Investments — an industry index fund, research group, and Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) hopeful — the unveiling of the Facebook-backed digital asset has propelled this industry forward by a whole three years.
Bitwise: Libra Accelerated Crypto Industry
Matt Hougan, the head of research at the American startup, explained in his August 2019 investor letter that Libra helped to propel the industry to “center stage”, which is especially important for an industry as fringe and abstract as digital assets and non-fiat monies.
Elaborating, Hougan added that Libra is also important because it and “other catalysts” have “changed the nature” of the conversations that investors and others are having about this industry.
This paradigm shift in how the public addresses Bitcoin and its ilk, he adds, has been seen across the globe.
He isn’t joking. The launch of Libra forced some of the world’s most powerful individuals to address cryptocurrencies as a serious threat — if they weren’t already that is.
It started with Representative Maxine Waters and a few of her peers, who mandated that Facebook and its 27 massive corporate partners immediately cease development of Libra.
Discussions regarding the matter later evolved to include Donald Trump, who voluntarily released a three-part thread on the non-viability of cryptocurrencies, coupled with the potential national security threats that digital assets can pose to the banking system and to society.
A contradiction, we know, but one that shows that Libra forced politicians to perceive the industry as a true threat, which is something that they did not do before.
Bitcoin Has An Inevitability
Prior to the launch of Libra, close to zero politicians, economists, and other pundits were discussing digital assets. The ones that were discussing the matter, like Brad Sherman of California and legendary investor Warren Buffett, were openly bashing it without showing that they have knowledge of the intricacies and nuances of Bitcoin.
But with Libra in the fray, which is supported by a star-studded cast of partners — Visa, Coinbase, PayPal, Booking Holdings, and Mastercard to name a few — many of the individuals in the aforementioned categories have presumably felt it mandatory to actually give this asset class a second look. Facebook, after all, is no joke when it comes to new technologies.
These second looks have materialized in acknowledgments that Bitcoin and other projects in its class are “inevitable” — a description that, two or three years ago, would have never been uttered by any person in a government office. If Libra wasn’t in the mix, there’s no way
China Responds With Digital Yuan Plans
The launch of Libra was so revolutionary that it even triggered the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), who has been rumored to be actively working on launching a digital version of the Yuan, to accelerate its foray into the cryptocurrency field.
Announced in a statement put out last week, the Chinese monetary authority will be accelerating the development of a sovereign cryptocurrency, specifically in response to the potential financial risks posed by Libra and the resurgence in Bitcoin.
This comes hot on the heels of comments from Wang Xin, the head of research at PBoC, and Huawei founder Ren Zhengfi regarding such a project. Wang earlier told an audience in early-July that Libra, should it be successful, could become a proxy for the United States to establish even more of a monetary grip on the globe. One of Wang’s former co-workers and Zhengfi followed suit, telling the world in separate statements that China must take note of Libra.
Libra evidently poses a threat to fiat money, banks, and governments, so maybe it should come as no surprise that its launch is sparking mass discourse about the cryptocurrency industry. But whether or not this will be in Bitcoin’s favor remains to be seen.