Facebook Libra is misrepresented, unnecessary, and dangerous.

This website aims to help everyone understand why that’s the case. Click here to jump straight to it.

The hashtag #LibreNotLibra was coined by Andreas M. Antonopoulos, 18 June 2019. There’s no doubting it’s a beautifully succinct way of putting it, and here we aim to provide more detail for those looking to learn more and/or communicate the situation to friends and colleagues, to politicians and regulators. We also curate the broad and deep analysis, news and commentary on this topic at

This site remains a work in progress. Please let us know @LibreNotLibra if you’d like to help develop more detailed, specialist information in the context of government, economics, banking, decentralization, and privacy. You can also join us on Telegram to chat about Libra in general at greater length.

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How does Facebook describe its Libra project?

Retrieved from at 15:00 UTC, 3rd July 2019:

The Vision

Libra is a global, digitally native, reserve-backed cryptocurrency built on the foundation of blockchain technology. People will be able to send, receive, spend, and secure their money, enabling a more inclusive global financial system.

The Currency

The unit of currency is called Libra. The aim is to make Libra as widely accepted and as easy to use as possible to create a currency that people can use with confidence and convenience in their everyday lives.

The Reserve

Unlike the majority of cryptocurrencies, Libra is fully backed by a reserve of real assets. A basket of currencies and assets will be held in the Libra Reserve for every Libra that is created, building trust in its intrinsic value.

The Blockchain

The Libra Blockchain is operated by a network of validator nodes. The evolution of the blockchain will be overseen by the Founding Members of the Libra Association, and each member will be responsible for running a validator node. As the network grows and becomes more self-sustaining, the Libra Association will work to gradually transition to a permissionless mode of operation.

The page links to the corresponding white paper, archived here.

Misrepresented, unnecessary, and dangerous

Here are the top-level observations and objections that everyone should consider.

A Trojan horse for surveillance

Facebook Libra is the company’s Trojan horse to complete its surveillance capitalism machinery, becoming the most powerful all-seeing, all-knowing entity, all under the control of just one man.

Facebook may promise to maintain an ethics wall between its respective financial and social panopticons, and repeat the assertion as much as it likes, but it took the company less than two years to renege on its promise to keep Facebook and Whatsapp separate. The company’s reputation speaks for itself.

Further reading

Not a blockchain

Facebook claims that the Libra technology is “built on the foundation of blockchain technology”. That is not true. There are no blocks. There are no chains. Facebook Libra is a traditionally-federated system operated by an exclusive cartel of very large corporations.

The company has chosen to ‘block-wash’, so to speak. It may be hoping to have some of the genuine enthusiasm for blockchain technologies rub off on its project. More alarmingly, this misrepresentation appears to be a barely disguised attempt to exploit regulatory gaps.

Further reading

Distributed oppression

Recently-announced Facebook technologies such as their instantiation of “AI on the Edge” pose a massive threat to freedom of speech, and this becomes a threat to commercial participation in society too when allied with Libra. Facebook presents this as “safeguarding” when it is in fact the tool of Orwellian oppression.

My AI on my device, good.

Facebook’s AI on my device, doubleplusungood.

Further reading

A threat to democracy

Mark Zuckerberg does little to dissuade anyone that he is anything less than maniacally obsessed with the supposed ‘benevolent’ application of his immense powers, even if that might entail circumventing democratic institutions and processes. Surveillance capitalism, of which Facebook is a prime exponent, is itself anti-democratic.

Further reading

A threat to global financial stability

Former World Bank Chief Economist and Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz notes:

The real problem with our existing currencies and financial arrangements … is the lack of competition among, and regulation of, the companies that control transactions.

Yet Facebook Libra sets out to achieve a level of vertical integration and visibility far exceeding the power and reach of many national economies and banks. Libra may even replace fiat currencies in developing countries. While it’s quite possible that lawmakers and regulators never anticipated such a concentration of power over transactions, capital, and indeed the nature of money itself, that doesn’t mean we should leave nation states toothless under the yoke of this supranational cartel.

Further reading


A web search (3rd July 2019) fails to identify any reference by Facebook to its ethical responsibilities specific to Libra. The company merely notes in its white paper its responsibility to “support ethical actors” without exploring the need for itself. As Sarah James Lewis, Executive Director of Open Privacy, tweets sarcastically:

Can’t wait for a cryptocurrency with the ethics of Uber, the censorship resistance of Paypal, and the centralization of Visa, all tied together under the proven privacy of Facebook.

Taking inspiration from Professor George DiMartino, Kate Raworth proposes four ethical principles for the economics profession in her book Doughnut Economics that could be said to apply equally here:

  1. Act in service to human prosperity in a flourishing web of life

  2. Respect autonomy in the communities that you serve by ensuring their engagement and consent, while remaining ever aware of the inequalities and differences that may lie within them

  3. Be prudential in policymaking, seeking to minimise the risk of harm

  4. Work with humility by making transparent the assumptions and shortcomings of your models, and by recognising alternative economic perspectives and tools.

Systems thinking

The ultimate information technology challenge is the care and maintenance of a digital infrastructure that can help us rise up to so-called super wicked problems, collectively. Given the growing appreciation of the nature of complexity and the complexity of nature, we know we’re in the domain of systems thinking and sustainability —  the health and resilience of living systems including our planet, our societies, and our organisations.

Sustainability requires healthy, distributed networks, with both diversity and individual agency, to facilitate the emergence of collective intelligence. It is these qualities our digital technologies must enable and encourage.

Facebook Libra represents little more than the technologization of past hegemonic practices. Those privileged corporates involved in the cosy Libra club have no motivation to move beyond Libra’s genesis architecture, in fact quite the opposite. Either way, should it be allowed to proceed, Facebook Libra represents a forbidding systemic block to the future flourishing of diverse and distributed projects attending to this existential challenge.

Some super fine resources that didn’t quite fit into our section headings above.

And check out


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We are about to enter a global Currency Cold War that is centred around CryptoFiat tensions. It will involve 3 different factions — fiat state money (Feds), corporate money (such as Libra) and the “people’s” money (bitcoin). It will force the citizens of the world to question their everyday interaction with finance and what the term “money” really means. It will make them realize that their privacy and autonomy can be taken away if how they use money is controlled or facilitated by certain actors. They will come to understand that true freedom comes from truly owning your own assets.

^ Phil Chen, Decentralization Chief Officer, HTC. Click here for info about HTC’s Zion Key Management Service for its Exodus devices.

We cannot allow a company which specialises in addictive user interfaces and personal data exploitation to dominate social spending.

^ Irina Bolychevsky, Co-founder, Redecentralize

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