Facebook needs to delay Libra’s launch — if it really wants to work with regulators

Facebook, the American tech behemoth known for its “move fast and break things” motto, the mishandling of customer data, and interference in democracy, may not launch its ‘cryptocurrency’ Libra in time after all.

“In the last few years, there are a lot of important social issues that Facebook and the other big internet companies are really at the center of in society,” Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg told Nikkei , while highlighting his desire to take a “look before-you-leap approach” before launching any new technologies.

Prior to scandals, such as the Cambridge Analytica data fiasco , the tech billionaire said Facebook ’s approach had consisted of building a tool and retroactively fixing any issues if people were using it in a bad way, but recent events have shown this approach is no longer valid.

Raising eyebrows

Facebook’s plans to enter the digital currency space with the launch of Libra have stirred regulators and governments across the globe , who fear the project ’s potential impact on the world’s financial system.

Facebook has so far insisted it’s planning to launch Libra in 2020 but Zuckerberg , who describes the coin as a way of involving emerging economies in the financial system, was quick to highlight the need for dialogue with regulators.

“A lot of people have had questions and concerns, and we’re committed to making sure that we work through all of those before moving forward,” he said, adding:

“Part of the approach and how we’ve changed is that now when we do things that are going to be very sensitive for society , we want to have a period where we can go out and talk about them and consult with people and get feedback and work through the issues before rolling them out,” he noted. “And that’s a very different approach than what we might have taken five years ago. But I think it’s the right way for us to do this at the scale that we operate in.”

Speed may be of the essence but…

While Zuckerberg didn’t confirm – or deny – any changes to Facebook ‘s launch plans, his seeming willingness to cooperate with regulators could certainly cause serious delays, because, let’s face it, government bodies aren’t necessarily known for moving at speed .

But, in this instance, and given Facebook ‘s global reach (and already troubled history), caution is most definitely necessary.

I for one am not too enthused about the prospect of Facebook creating and issuing its own digital money , but if it does, one can only hope that it would be subject to the same level of scrutiny as banks and fintechs.

For so long, Facebook has publicly (and conveniently) maintained that it’s a technology platform, and not a publisher or a media company.

And although it’s delegated the creation and issuance of Libra to the Libra Association, it’s time for Zuckerberg ‘s baby to finally grow up – because this time, there’s money involved.

Want more Hard Fork? Join us in Amsterdam on October 15-17 to discuss blockchain and cryptocurrency with leading experts.

TRON’s Justin Sun confirms he’s a ‘big-mouthed over-marketer’ in Warren Buffett lunch apology

Justin Sun, the founder of cryptocurrency platform TRON, has issued a public apology after postponing a highly publicized charity lunch with billionaire Warren Buffett. And it seems Sun is finally becoming aware of his “over-marketed hype.”

Sun issued an apology earlier today saying he “sincerely apologizes to the public, the medial, officials, and regulatory authorities,” for over hamming his marketing of the charity lunch , CoinDesk reports .

The TRON founder referred to himself as “immature, naive, and impulsive,” and as having a “big mouth.” He says this spurred on “out-of-control and failed over-marketing hype and led to a significant series of unexpected consequences.”

One report is now saying that the apology, made on Chinese social media site Weibo, has now been deleted . This is an ongoing story.

TRON buys lunch with Buffett

Earlier this year, Justin Sun paid a record-breaking $4.6 million to attend an annual charity lunch hosted by known Bitcoin hater Warren Buffett .

Sun said he would use the lunch as a platform to promote cryptocurrency and blockchain to Buffett and co. But, as Sun acknowledged in his apology, it seems it was more a platform for self-promotion .

Sun claimed he would invite other big names from the cryptocurrency industry, like Litecoin’s Charlie Lee, Ethereum’s Vitalik Buterin , and eToro’s Yoni Assia .

The excuse

The specific reason why Sun postponed the lunch isn’t eminently clear.

Earlier this week, the Tron Foundation tweeted saying that the blockchain entrepreneur had fallen ill with kidney stones, and the lunch would be rescheduled.

Other reports suggest a starkly different story, though. Earlier today, Chinese news outlet Caixin (spotted by Decrypt ), reported that Sun is under “border control,” meaning he needs government approval to leave the country. Until this week, it was believed he was still in China.

However, according to the report, Sun managed to “sneak out” of the country last November, and has been wanted by Chinese authorities ever since. On Tuesday this week, Sun published a video appearing to show that he was in fact in San Francisco .

A growing list of over-marketed self-promotions

It seems Sun is finally becoming aware of his prowess as an over-marketer. If you haven’t seen any of his past marketing gaffs, they typically go a little something like this.

Sun makes outlandish acquisition or partnership announcement on Twitter to his 1 million followers. Media and crypto-Twitter picks it up and further spreads the story. Reports surface that it was over embellished and everyone goes back to living their lives until the next time. Here’re some examples:

In April, Justin Sun tweeted an alleged invitation from UK Premier League football club Liverpool FC, saying TRON was exploring a new partnership.

Less than a day later, reports surfaced saying that TRON had misunderstood the invitation; Liverpool denied having a partnership with TRON .

In another incident, Sun ended up having to giveaway two Tesla cars after botching a promotional competition.

In March, Sun tweeted that he would pick one lucky follower to win a Tesla in what he positioned as a general celebration of BitTorrent token, USDT, and TRON‘s successes.

However, it all went sour when Twitter users started to call Sun out for foul play .

The first winner, a Mexican national, appeared to be refused the prize, believing that they were being scammed, Bloomberg reported.

One user on Twitter , on the other hand, thought the first winner was a bot, and that TRON conducted a further 87 supposedly random draws which appeared to be the same person.

Sun later promised to give away two Tesla’s, one to the original winner that was originally “forgotten about”, and another to a second winner that TRON claimed was legitimate, Bloomberg reported . Whether these two “winners” ever got their cars remains unclear.

Perhaps luckily for us, in today’s apology from Sun, he said he will be pulling back from public and promotional duties, still citing his alleged illness.

“Moving forward, due to my illness, I will take some rest, reduce my publicity on Weibo and media interviews. All the efforts spent on publicity stunts need to go back to technology development,” he stated.

I hope he’s actually telling the whole truth this time.

Update July 26, 2019, 0740UTC : A TRON spokesperson has since contacted Hard Fork to say that the first winner of the Tesla was not a bot, but a Mexican national. The second winner was in Eastern Europe. According to the spokesperson, both declined the cars and accepted the equivalent value in TRX. The article has been updated to reflect this.

Moonday Mornings: Kate Winslet is hunting for Bitcoin scammers

Good morning Forkies. It’s that time of the week again when we serve you up a fresh plate of blockchain and cryptocurrency headlines from over the weekend.

Let’s see what this week has in store.

1. Long Blockchain Corp. formerly Long Island Tea Corp. – the beverage company that for no real reason decided to pivot to blockchain – is selling its beverage subsidiary leaving it with just its loyalty rewards platform. Authorities have long suspected the company changed its name as part of a plan to increase stock price, and is being investigated for insider trading relating to the move.

2. Despite continued challenges, Facebook is still ploughing ahead with its plans for its digital currency, Libra. The Big F has recently acquired Servicefriend, a firm that builds chatbots for customer service, TechCrunch reports . While Facebook refused to confirm whether the acquisition was part of its plans for Libra , several of Servicefriend key employees have updated their LinkedIn profiles saying they work in the Calibra digital wallet group, the company that will provide the software to let people use Libra. I guess we’ll have to make our own minds up about what’s going on here.

3. Coinbase is thinking about adding a whole swathe of shitcoins altcoins, including the supposedly upcoming TON token from messaging app Telegram, ZDNet reports . The cryptocurrency exchange says its goal is to support “all assets that meet their technical standards.” In time, it expects to support at least “90 percent of the aggregate market cap of all digital assets.” I guess with Cryptopia dying , there is an opening in the market for another shitcoin factory.

4. Two individuals have been indicted by US authorities over their alleged involvement in the hack of cryptocurrency exchange EtherDelta , which happened in December 2017. It appears hackers “sim-swapped” the EtherDelta CEO, according to ZDNet . This let the bad actors gain access to the CEO‘s email account and change the domain name system of the cryptocurrency exchange, The Block reports . The hack resulted in EtherDelta users being redirected to a fake website where their private keys and cryptocurrency addresses were stolen. In one instance an EtherDelta user lost at least $800,000 worth of cryptocurrency.

And finally…

5. Kate Winslet is taking action against Bitcoin scammers that used her image to trick prospective investors into parting with their cash, the Mirror reports . The scammers used a website mocked up to look like a BBC news interview which says Winslet’s latest big money-maker is from investing in a cryptocurrency called “Bitcoin Code.” Obviously this isn’t true and the movie star is going after the fraudsters. A spokesperson for Winslet said: “This misleading promotion is completely disingenuous and categorically false.” Go get ’em Kate!

Now go get on with your week.

Hunter Jones

Hunter Jones

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