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Facebook’s Libra vs. Alipay and QQ Coin, BTC and ETH

Social media behemoth Facebook’s foray into the cryptocurrency space has triggered great discussions around the world with the release of the whitepaper on its cryptocurrency Libra.

8btc, the earliest and biggest bitcoin social media site in China, invited a line of crypto KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders) to have an in-depth discussion about the possibility and future of Libra.

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Advantage over Chinese social giant’s QQ Coin?

When asked about Calibra (wallet for its “global currency” Libra)’s advantages over mobile payment giant Alipay and China’s very first social media virtual currency QQ Coin, Meng Yan, vice president of the Chinese Software Developer Network (CSDN) and initiator of token economy, stated,

QQ coin was the most successful virtual currency in China during the period from 2002 to 2007. After regulators began cracking down on it in 2007, QQ coin has “lost its power”; later when Q Coin transfers between accounts were banned in 2009, it no longer acted as a currency, but more like reward points since then.”

QQ Coin is a virtual currency created in 2002 to allow users on instant messaging platform QQ to purchase virtual items like their avatar and game props. Q Coins could be directly purchased with RMB (one yuan each). Due to the rising popularity of the instant messager QQ among young man in China, QQ Coins soon became accepted by online vendors in exchange for real-world goods.

This raised regulators’ concerns of replacing real fiat money in these transactions and the country’s central bank thus began to crack down such virtual currencies, though its creator Tencent (Chinese social media giant) argues that QQ Coin is a regular commodity, rather than a currency.

Pony Ma, CEO of Tencent, also voiced his opinion on the big move of his U.S. counterpart, saying on WeChat that regulation will be the deciding factor for the success of Facebook’s Libra.

“The technology is already mature so it’s not difficult (to implement). It just depends on whether it can obtain regulatory approval.”

Most of the crypto influencers agree with the view of Pony Ma on Libra’s future, “The idea is sexy, the road is winding”, as a crypto entrepreneur said.

Libra is trying to do what Alipay is doing?

With the vision of creating a simple global financial infrastructure that empowers billions of people around the world, Libra aims to make money global and accessible for everyone. This makes most Chinese people to associate it with Alipay, the world’s largest mobile payment platform with more than 1 billion users worldwide.

Compare Facebook’s Libra initiative to the country’s biggest payment third-party payments like Alipay and WeChat Pay, Meng commented,

“Alipay and WeChat Pay are actually payment gateway whose role is to provide an entry for users to have access to the bank systems and payment networks, while blockchain is a direct payment network in the Internet.

This has happened before, that’s the integration of telecommunication networks and the Internet. In the past, telephone calls were made through the telecommunication network, and now most of them actually go via the Internet VoIP. But the Internet’s built-in carrier of value is much bigger than the integration of telecoms and the Internet, which would give rise to a lot of digital economy applications. Imagine that in the future self-driving cars run on the road, 5G edge computing, if a car is in a hurry, it can pay token to the cars in front of it to let them give way. This sort of vision requires money to be built directly into the Internet protocol. The first stage of token economy is to replace money with token, and then to express various digital entities directly with token. A huge amount of transactions will be done directly on the protocol layer, without the hassle of going through the payment gateway.”

Libra’s impact on BTC, ETH?

Marc Fleury, creator of JBoss, an open-source Java application server, and starter of home automation system OpenRemote, who focuses on monetary policies and fin-tech, thought that Libra may impact major cryptocurrencies like BTC and ETH as they are all ‘cryptos’ so the category may benefit from this.

“It may bring more fiat to crypto wrappers, like Tether does, assuming there are exchanges for FIAT/Libra which the whitepaper say they do. This onboarding of FIAT is a net benefit to all currencies, specifically the more visible ones.”

When asked which coin will be Libra’s major competitor? Bitcoin, Ripple or JPMCoin, Marc said “Libra is a stable coin aimed at payments and remittance, its competitive edge is that they already have the user base wrapped in it.  Because it is not a speculative store of value like Bitcoin it does not compete.  Ripple is aimed at interbank transfers (SWIFT) and it may function in that capacity if enough banks adopt it. It’s stable, fully backed nature is interesting that way.”

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