Facebook’s launch of Libra coin has garnered a fair amount of chatter
and has at the very least caused some to ponder yet again about the
future of Blockchain and Cryptocurrency. If your an enthusiast of
Blockchain technology then you’re already convinced this technology is
here to stay and the mention of Cryptocurrency probably doesn’t raise
your eyebrows or illicit skepticism, fear or aversion as it still does
in so many.
As is the case for many debates regardless of where you fall in the discussions, there is often truth on both sides. If you are standing behind Blockchain then you understand how it has the potential to disrupt many industries including Financial, Supply Chain Management and Healthcare to name a few and you realize it is just a matter of time before it does just that.
However, if your an enthusiast and an honest one then you also understand the nonbeliever’s trepidation acknowledging there have been some real problems and concerns with this new technology that have kept many at bay and from diving in head first, as you might have done. The volatility of Cryptocurrency a pain point that’s hard to deny and frankly unacceptable to a great many is understandable. Waking up in the morning with $1000 in your account and going to bed with $200 is volatility that feels more like gambling to a lot of folks and certainly not a way many are prepared to handle their hard earned finances. This certainly has played a part in some of the barriers to Cryptocurrency’s mainstream adoption. Regulatory crackdowns in the last few years that have shut down non-compliant ICO’s resulting in loss of money, trust, and faith are also a few hard blows that didn’t help a budding technology trying to take hold and gain mass adoption.
Facebook has certainly thought through a few of these pain points and maybe thought a different approach might be the answer to the problem we face. Zuckerberg certainly a lot more confident than he was in his early days tinkering with face smash in his dorm room, probably then couldn’t have envisioned he was a decade or so away from the Billion dollar platform he would later call Facebook.
Libra coin undoubtedly has a global vision the likes that have not most likely been fully realized. A global game changer is certainly not out of the realms of expectations and possibilities for those that know how to scale to the masses. First and foremost, the vision of being the gateway to mainstreaming Blockchain and Cryptocurrency and propelling this technology to billions which arguably could be done just by reaching its readers alone, would certainly be a lofty goal for most, but maybe just a next agenda item for a company that knows what it takes to get the job done. So as the saying goes “Experience teaches slowly at the cost of mistakes” I think we can all agree they have had a good bit of both.
But let’s not lose sight of the bigger picture in all of this, it’s not who gets to the race first but about the wins, we may all gain as a society along the way. This is not to say we won’t need and want regulatory checks and balances to keep us safe or that there won’t be challenges or debates such as is Libra a pure Blockchain or do we need a stable coin to get us to the destination, the debates will continue, be endless and will hopefully foster a deeper dive of discussions, realizations and finally real solutions which after all isn’t that really the point and what we really need to get us to that next step? As in the days of the internet beginnings of Web 1.0 with static pages and virtually no direct exchange of communication between reader and publisher we stumbled through it all may be at times often losing sight of the bigger picture of finding better ways to connect with one another Web 2.0 certainly enhanced those connections through social media a destination not without problems but with some definable advances I think we can all agree has a few perks.
Facebook with Libra coin make no mistake is definitely looking to lead the pack, a giant that could crush a great many along the way. The destination of Web 3.0 is yet to be determined so who might be the best one to lead us is probably an open-ended futuristic question. However, in looking back and reflecting on the dotcom company’s that crashed and burned along the way in the ’90s, most of us have not focused on that negative aspect of technology growth but rather have chosen to stay focused on the advances and gains in a way most of us couldn’t have imagined.
Blockchain in its quest to bring trust, immutability, scalability, decentralization and mass adoption will continue facing similar challenges not meeting regulatory standards, digital volatility, and not having a solid business plan to stand the test of time and effectively solve the problem. Like most good entrepreneurs they know the secret is not to start a business but to solve a problem. If we take Facebook at their word from their mission statement in their white paper “Libra’s mission is to enable a simple global currency and a financial infrastructure that empowers billions of people” A lofty goal for most but with Facebooks far-reaching connections and antennas something we all can begin to ponder how might they go about accomplishing this and what exactly is the problem they have set out to solve?
Is the problem billions of people need a digital currency, to do what? Depending on what you do, where you live or where you are in life that vision or problem can conjure up a great many possibilities. As an Obstetrician, focused on maternal health and wellbeing I can’t help but think about a global crisis at hand with some disturbing facts. Every day 830 women die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth, with 99% of all maternal deaths occurring in developing countries. We know skilled care during and after pregnancy can save the lives of women and children. We also know full well there are barriers in accessing that care, financial obstacles certainly are one leading that list. There is study evidence suggesting financial incentives can enhance demand for and improve the supply for maternal health services. Evidence suggests financial incentives can increase the quantity and quality of maternal health care addressing financial barriers that prevent women from seeking healthcare and providers from delivering life-saving quality care Financial Incentives and Maternal Health: Where do we go from Here?.
So getting back to the bigger picture, if a stable coin allowed a woman
in a rural village with no bank account to access care she ordinarily
would not have had to save herself and her infant child than I think
that is a greater good we can all rally around.
Interested in Blockchain’s Disruption? Check out these additional articles:
How Blockchain is disrupting 3 Industries; How Blockchain Technology is Disrupting Everything; 5 ways Blockchain is Disrupting, Marketing, Service and Retail
Photo by Annie Spratt Courtesy Unsplash
Faith M. Whittier M.D.
Board Certified Obstetrician-Gynecologist