Facebook has become the gold standard for social media in terms of size and revenue. They furthered their market dominance by purchasing the photo-sharing app Instagram in 2012.
Now, Facebook appears to be targeting the financial world. They recently announced that they’ll be launching a cryptocurrency called Libra.
Bitcoin is currently the big name in the cryptocurrency space. But Libra could also become just as notable if everything goes right.
In fact, Libra might be used for far more transactions than Bitcoin, which is often considered a store of value. Libra may even become the most common payment method in the online gambling world.
“May” is the key word here, because nothing is set in stone as far as Libra goes. That said, I’m going to discuss more on this digital currency and how it could be used in the online gaming world.
What Is Libra?
Details on Libra are fairly scarce because it hasn’t yet been released. But according to Facebook, this crypto will be used to send money cheaply and improve financial services, especially for the unbanked population.
Libra is what many in crypto refer to as a “stablecoin.” A stablecoin is pegged to one or more fiat currencies, such as the US dollar, euro, or British pound.
Such cryptocurrencies are usually based on a simple ratio for a specific currency. Example, a single USD Tether (USDT) equals $1.
This particular stablecoin will be built upon a blockchain platform called the Libra Network. Blockchain refers to technology that’s based on multiple servers (a.k.a. nodes), which act as ledgers for a network.
Many crypto enthusiasts favor decentralized blockchains over the permissioned variety. After all, a decentralized network can’t be controlled by any single entity.
Facebook claims the Libra Network’s permissioned status will allow it to run faster. Speed is the of the utmost importance here, given that Libra is built for everyday use.
The Libra Network is built on open-source code, thus allowing any developer to create tools and digital wallets on top of the network. Facebook notes that this setup will allow them to eventually make Libra a public blockchain.
At the time of this writing, though, the social network has failed to provide details on how they’ll complete this transition. That said, much surrounding Libra is still up in the air.
Who Will Run Libra?
Many have cried that Facebook is using Libra to take over the financial industry. This is a scary thought when considering how Facebook gathers and gives away their users’ data.
However, the social networking giant won’t manage Libra on a day-to-day basis. Instead, the Libra Association, a non-profit organization based in Switzerland, will manage the digital currency.
This consortium includes multiple companies and nonprofit organizations from around the world. The 28 founding members come from various segments, including blockchain, payments, technology, and venture capitalism.
This association aims to have at least 100 members by the time the currency launches. Some of the most notable members at this time include Coinbase, Lyft, Mercy Corps, and PayPal.
The Libra Association’s main duties include managing the financial reserves that will back Libra’s stability and operating servers to run the network. Regarding the stability, Facebook claims that Libra will be much less volatile than Bitcoin because it’s backed by fiat.
Libra’s value will be pegged to a variety of standard currencies, including a Japanese yen, dollar, euro, and more. In contrast, other stablecoins are usually just pegged to the US dollar.
How Will Libra Work?
The Libra Association plans to launch a product called the Calibra Wallet. This digital wallet will allow users to store Libra and send it to their FB friends at little to no cost.
A standalone app, the Calibra Wallet will be compatible with both Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. Other developers and companies will also be able to create wallets on the Libra Network.
Facebook claims that Calibra will run independent of the company to protect users’ and privacy. The social networking company also states that they won’t share customers’ personal or financial details with third parties.
The only time they’ll break this arrangement is to comply with law enforcement investigations and prevent fraud.
You may be wondering exactly how Facebook will benefit from Libra. They expect the transactions between their customers and businesses to create more ad revenue.
Using Libra in Online Gambling
As mentioned before, the exact details on Libra are unknown since it hasn’t launched yet. However, it’ll probably work like any other cryptocurrency with regard to internet gambling.
If you already use crypto or even Bitcoin to play casino games with, then you should have no trouble adapting to Libra. Assuming you don’t, then the process of using crypto for online gaming isn’t too difficult.
The first step is to purchase cryptocurrency using fiat. Only certain exchanges accept fiat, including Coinbase, Gemini, and Kraken.
You can’t, on the other hand, visit Binance or KuCoin, for example, and buy Bitcoin with cash. You have to choose an exchange that’s set up to allow you to make such purchases.
Once you have crypto, then you can transfer it to your online gambling site wallet. To do this, you first need to obtain a wallet address from the gaming site.
Gambling sites that accept crypto will feature these options in their banking section. You just need to visit their cashier section and look for the appropriate cryptocurrency to get a wallet address.
Assuming Libra becomes widely adopted thanks to its association with Facebook, then it should be available at many internet gambling sites. Furthermore, it’ll assuredly work just like any other crypto for gambling purposes.
Advantages to Using Libra for Online Gambling
One of Libra’s distinct advantages is that it’ll be backed by a consortium of well-respected companies. Many dislike the business practices of Facebook or PayPal, but they can’t deny that the companies behind Libra are more reputable then what’s common in cryptocurrency.
For example, USDT is backed by a murky ownership group. While the stablecoin has operated without many hitches up to this point, it does leave plenty of questions.
Perhaps the biggest question is what’ll happen with their lawsuit in New York. The NY State Attorney General has accused the stablecoin’s backers of trying to cover up $850 million in missing funds.
Nothing has been decided from a legal standpoint as of yet. However, many are leery of how USDT doesn’t have a full reserve to back its supply.
The Libra Association at least has a number of public companies behind it. These businesses can’t just hide behind a convoluted network of shell companies if things go wrong.
Another advantage to Libra from a gambling standpoint is that it’ll make for easier crypto-to-fiat conversions. If you know that one Libra equals one dollar, for example, then you’ll have no trouble determining your bet sizes.
Contrast this to Bitcoin, which is a wildly fluctuating cryptocurrency with weird conversion rates. For instance, one milli-Bitcoin (mBTC), the most-common unit in online gambling, equals $9.74 at the time of this post.
Yet one more thing to like about Libra is that it’ll probably be easy to obtain. Provided you use Facebook, then you’ll able to get this digital currency just by visiting your social media account.
Of course, exchanges like Coinbase have made the process of buying Bitcoin relatively easy. But you’ll find it even handier to go through Facebook if you’re already using social media anyway.
Will Libra Even Launch? Or Will Governments Crush It?
So far, I’ve discussed a lot of probabilities regarding Libra. Once again, though, nothing with this future cryptocurrency is set in stone.
It may not even get off the ground. US lawmakers and financial figureheads are already questioning this new concept.
Congress isn’t thrilled with the idea of a social media site offering their own global financial network. Some lawmakers would even like to ban Libra and similar currency ideas.
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell floated concerns that Libra could be used for money laundering and other crimes. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also believes that this crypto might be used in illicit activities.
The problem is that Libra could be subject to far less regulation than the US dollar. Facebook has delayed the launch in order to clear up these concerns in the meantime.
Conclusion – Should You Gamble Online With Libra If It’s Available?
Libra should be a legitimate stablecoin in a cryptocurrency environment that has few reputable options. Furthermore, it should offer a number of online gambling advantages.
First off, public companies will run the Libra Network. Unlike the owners of USDT, this network’s nodes will be highly visible and must protect their reputations.
Another benefit is that Libra will be pegged to a variety of fiat currencies. Therefore, you won’t have to struggle mathematically to make the conversions on your bets.
Contrast this to Bitcoin, which is currently the dominant crypto in online gambling. Milli-Bitcoin conversions aren’t very clean, which leads to confusing bet sizes (e.g. 1 mBTC = $9.74).
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies fluctuate every day. Your gambling funds could be worth $200 one day and just $160 the next.
Of course, Libra also brings some legitimate concerns. Facebook, which spearheads the Libra Association, has taken plenty of heat for sharing users’ data.
Some worry that Libra is just another avenue for FB to grab more data. Then again, the Libra Association will be a vast network that should ease these concerns. The other major worry is that Libra won’t even get started. Congress and financial regulators are apprehensive about a corporate-backed currency.
Despite all of the potential drawbacks, Libra still looks like an interesting option for online gamblers. That said, you should definitely consider this cryptocurrency if or when it becomes available.