Jalak Jobanputra, founder of Future Perfect Ventures, joins Justine Underhill to discuss Facebook’s Libra token. Jobanputra discusses Facebook’s venture into banking the unbanked, the scrutiny surrounding Facebook’s challenges with data protection and privacy, as well as Libra’s potential for widespread adoption. This clip is excerpted from a video published on Real Vision on June 27, 2019 entitled, “Building Businesses at the Frontier of Money.”
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Why Facebook’s Libra Matters (w/Jalak Jobanputra)
For the full transcript visit:
JUSTINE UNDERHILL: So talking about tokenization taking hold, what are your thoughts on Facebook’s new crypto coin? I don’t even know if it’s fair to call it a crypto coin, because it isn’t completely decentralized in many ways.
JALAK JOBANPUTRA: There’s still a lot of details to be determined here on what is decentralized, what’s centralized. What we do know as of now is that they’ve gotten a consortium of partners together, which include some of their advertising partners- companies like Spotify, companies from the financial services sector like PayPal, Visa, MasterCard, which are very interesting, because you could argue that they’re competitors for payments, mindshare, and usage. But they’ve gathered together a group of companies to, I believe, make it look and appear to be not so centralized, that they’re actually creating a new entity that all these consortium members will participate in and govern this new currency, this Libra coin as they’re calling it as of now. And so Facebook will be just one of the nodes in that network. And eventually I believe they want to get to 100 members in this network. They’ve all put in $10 million dollars, committed to $10 million dollars apiece. There are also some nonprofit partners, such as Women’s World Banking. So they’re very much looking to make this appear to be a really global effort focused on banking the 1.7 billion people around the world that are currently unbanked. What I find really interesting about this, too, is if you look at Facebook financials, only 10% of their users come from the United States. 70% are in the emerging markets and developing markets. However, most of their revenue, almost 100% of their revenue comes from advertising. And it’s advertising from those in the developed markets. So they’re under a lot of pressure if they want to keep growing to figure out a new business model. And we’re seeing companies around the world want to get into the banking sector. I’ve been investing in FinTech before it was called FinTech- in the mid ’90s, late ’90s. And controlling that spend or being able to participate in some of the fees is, I think, what they’re looking at as their next business model. It’s very early days. It’s going to take a long time to transition over to that. But I think that’s very much what they’re going for.
JUSTINE UNDERHILL: So Facebook has been facing a lot of scrutiny because of its data collection and also the amount of information it has on users and also potentially the lack of regulation that it faces right now. Do you think them getting into this space without- they’re able to do it, because they’re not becoming a bank in a way. Do you think that actually puts a lot more pressure on them in some way or more scrutiny?
JALAK JOBANPUTRA: Well, I think the way they’ve structured this shows that they’re very aware of the potential scrutiny around this and why they focused on putting together this separate entity in Switzerland, which is a more neutral place- they’re also have more crypto friendly regulations in Switzerland. That’s where Ethereum was first launched under a foundation model, which is what Facebook is following.
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