Joe Lubin: Libra "is a centralized wolf in decentralized sheep's clothing"

23 Jun, 2019 | Updated: 23 Jun, 2019
by Richard Allen
Opinion
Joe Lubin: Libra is a centralized wolf in decentralized sheep's clothing

Joseph Lubin, founder of ConsenSys, a Brooklyn-based software production company, recently published a blog post where he describes Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency as “a centralized wolf in decentralized sheep’s clothing.”

Lubin acknowledges that Libra is designed to send money quickly and cheaply, but notes that Facebook is aware of the lack of trust between the company and the public. As such, Lubin notes, “don’t I need to trust Facebook and other intermediaries to trust Libra?”

As he points out, the social media giant’s name is hardly ever mentioned in the whitepaper or its technical documents, suggesting Facebook’s awareness of the lack of trust the public has in the company. Furthermore, Lubin notes that with the Libra whitepaper, Facebook isn’t eliminating “subjective trust” as most blockchains aim to do. Instead, Facebook is actually asking us to trust them.

Continuing on the topic of trust, Lubin notes that Libra requires our trust that it will eventually transition into a more “permissionless,” decentralized system, rather than keeping it in the hands of 28 companies.

The Ethereum co-founder then states that younger investors will likely be “more interested in payment systems built on truly decentralized protocols than agree to verify themselves on Facebook.”

This is made even truer when considering how much money Facebook makes from selling user data. Lubin raises concerns about what might happen if we start giving them our personal finances as well.

“It is almost a given, even if they have the best of intentions—'accidents’ and incursions happen when relying on centralized architectures,” he says.

Finally, Lubin reveals that ConsenSys has begun reviewing the source code, picking up on several similarities it shares with Ethereum.

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