Is Facebook’s New Cryptocurrency a ‘Bitcoin Killer’? 6 Things to Know About Libra

“It’s a good bet on Facebook’s part,” Los Angeles-based securities trader Michael Queller says

Is Facebook about to do to bitcoin what it did to Myspace a decade ago? It can feel that way, with the social network on Tuesday officially unveiling Libra, its new digital currency that’s backed by a number of major companies, including Mastercard and Spotify.

Libra, which has been in the works for more than a year and is still not expected to launch until early 2020, has analysts falling over themselves this week to laud Facebook. But Charlie Shrem, one of  bitcoin’s earliest evangelists and currently the host of the cryptocurrency-focused podcast “Untold Stories,” said the move is unlikely to bump bitcoin from the top of the digital currency market.

“I don’t see it as a bitcoin killer,” Shrem told TheWrap, “I see it as an alternative.”

“[Facebook is] going to play it as the ‘safe bitcoin,'” he continued. “They’re going to say bitcoin is volatile, and this is anti-volatile because it’s pegged against all these different currencies. ‘Bitcoin is unsafe, bitcoin is shady,’ they’re going to say all these things, and [Libra] is going to compete with bitcoin’s market share.”

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Sean Burch

Tech reporter • sean.burch@thewrap.com • @seanb44