Libra Guide: Understanding Facebook’s Digital Currency

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A technical overview of Libra and the Move programming language.

Welcome to our guide to Facebook’s Libra, the best resource to learn about their digital currency. Download the Libra Guide below.

“The world truly needs a reliable digital currency and infrastructure that together can deliver on the promise of “the internet of money.”

— Libra Whitepaper

Regardless of what you think about Facebook, its announcement of Libra immediately created an enormous, captive audience for the larger ideas of blockchain. Even months later, news about Facebook and Libra still permeates the news stories of major articles. Not only does Facebook have 2 billion users, but they also influence people’s everyday lives in a way no other company has before (other than maybe Google).

As leaders in this space, we at ConsenSys believe it’s incumbent on us to use our expertise and experience in the field to help bring that expertise and experience into the public discussion.

We also think there’s a very real opportunity for ConsenSys and the greater Ethereum community to help inform Libra’s continued development.

Libra has made lots of claims for what it would like to do in the future, but they’re also in some ways asking the world to accept Libra now. It’s a tough needle to thread and we’ve decided to focus on what they’ve proposed as their Minimum Viable Product (MVP).

Our guide tries to limit the speculation as much as possible, and we make it very clear when we’re speculating or basing a statement on a non-Libra resource.

Note that we don’t discuss how a permissionless Proof of Stake network would work, and we don’t discuss too much about the social impact allocation of Libra Coin. There are still a lot of unanswered questions regarding Libra and what the entire project will entail. We’re getting down to fundamentals — what’s been proposed in the technical documentation and public statements from Facebook, Libra, and Calibra.

However, we do think we’ve given a good overview of the system, including some of the design decisions that Libra made.

What will you learn from the Libra Guide:

You’ll learn more about the Libra ecosystem and how the Libra Reserve is expected to function. We’ll cover regulatory response from governments and central banks about Libra and Facebook. The guide will also give a brief technical overview of Libra and the Move programming language from ConsenSys Academy.

Dive into technical specifics like Libra Validator Execution. Complete with code examples and a look at the Move programming language.

Explore the Libra ecosystem and develop a fundamental understanding of how the entire system works.

Here’s the full Table of Contents

  • Libra Ecosystem Map
  • Libra Association breakdown
  • Libra Coin
  • Libra Reserve Outstanding Questions
  • Regulatory Responses and Concerns
  • Technical Analysis Including:
  • Similarities to Ethereum
  • Libra IBFT
  • Move Programming Language

Key Takeaway

Maximally, decentralized systems are the most secure, and Libra is not maximally decentralized. The more decentralized the system, the more secure it will be against malicious actors (hacking). The Libra consortium is only as decentralized as the number of validator nodes in the network, which today is made up of 29 of some of the world’s largest enterprises and financial institutions, which only seems to further centralize power. In comparison, the Bitcoin and Ethereum blockchains have thousands of nodes maintaining the network across the globe. It’s impossible to say whether Libra will succeed after such little time, but it will be an important narrative that increasingly brings blockchain technology into the mainstream world.

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