Okay, this is a bit confusing.
Today, the Libra Association, which was the supporting group behind Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency project, has changed its name to Diem, in order to separate itself from its Facebook-aligned roots.
As explained by Diem:
“The Libra Association announces the adoption of a new name and the recruitment of key executives, reinforcing its organizational independence. Now transitioning to the name “Diem”, which denotes a new day for the project, the Diem Association will continue to pursue a mission of building a safe, secure and compliant payment system that empowers people and businesses around the world..”
To clarify, there are a couple of moving parts to this.
Originally, when Facebook announced its coming cryptocurrency payments program, the currency itself was called Libra, which would be available via a Calibra wallet, and would be overseen by an independent panel of financial experts, called The Libra Association
Facebook’s project was widely scrutinized, with many regions saying that they would not support the company creating its own currency, and gaining more market power. That then saw many of the initial big-name backers, including Visa, Mastercard and PayPal, pulling out of the Libra Association.
This, seemingly, put the Libra project in limbo – without the support of major financial institutions, Facebook’s options for the project were limited, and while Facebook was keen to create a new, fee-free way to facilitate funds transfer within its apps, it’s pathways for doing so became less clear, given the significant regulatory opposition it would now face.
It seemed that the project would likely fade out, but then in May this year, Facebook announced that it was changing the name of its crypto wallet from Calibra to Novi.
Why the name change? Likely to distance the project from those initial reservations and concerns. And now The Libra Association is also re-branding, and recruiting a new range of experts – which again seems to be another measure to separate the project from those initial reservations, and re-shape its approach with a clean slate.
So, to clarify:
- Facebook’s cryptocurrency itself is still called Libra
- The digital wallet in which you would keep your Libra is now called Novi
- The independent group overseeing the project is now called Diem
And the project is still, seemingly, no closer to providing a simple, fee-free way to transfer funds within Facebook’s apps.
Clear? Makes sense?
I mean, there’s not much about it that makes a heap of difference to potential users at this stage, as most of the re-naming and re-framing seems aimed at gaining regulatory approval and acceptance, so it’s not really clear what benefit these name changes actually provide. But the project is still pushing ahead, and there is still promise in an independent, Facebook-aligned, in-app currency, which could enable quick, free transfers within its apps.
Whether that will ever become a reality is another thing entirely – but again, the project is still alive, Facebook is still looking to advance its options as best it can.
In summary, I don’t really know whether this means we’re any close to seeing a Facebook cryptocurrency any time soon, but it remains a possibility, with the project still seeking new avenues to approval and acceptance.
New name, new approach. Maybe that will see a whole new window of opportunity. We’ll have to wait and see.