On Tuesday, an association of corporations led by Facebook released a white paper for its new cryptocurrency, Libra, set to become available next year. Unlike bitcoin and ethereum, Libra will be backed by non-speculative assets such as government bonds and bank deposits. The independent Libra Association—whose 28 current founding members include payment companies like PayPal and Mastercard, tech giants like Uber and eBay, and venture capital players like Andreessen Horowitz—aims to reach millions of users worldwide.
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Facebook also announced a new cryptocurrency wallet for the coin, Calibra, to be launched in 2020. The wallet, as well as other Libra-related applications, are being developed by a wholly owned Facebook subsidiary of the same name. Israeli engineers, data scientists, designers, and product managers make up a few dozen of Calibra’s employees, and though they share office space with Facebook’s Israeli research and development team at its Tel Aviv center, Calibra’s operations will be separate when it comes to aspects such as the technological infrastructure or customer services. At the head of Calibra is David Marcus, a former PayPal president, who until recently headed Facebook Messenger.
Technology has revolutionized many industries over the past decade, Tomer Barel, a Facebook vice president of risk, operations, and blockchain and one of Calibra’s main power players, said in a Wednesday interview with Calcalist. While financial services have seen significant advances, mainly in user experience, the basic aspects haven’t changed, he said. “If I reside in one country