Facebook Has Found a Place to Park Its $40bn+ Cash Reserves
There is no concept of a block of transactions in the ledger history—Libra’s technical paper. But who cares whether it’s technically a blockchain or not, as long as it’s permissioned it might as well be a MySQL database that’s updated with a voting system written in PHP for all i care. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hold a Bitcoin maximalist perspective, I’m quite value neutral with respect to the project, even a bit optimistic.
I’m personally most interested in getting to the economic substance of the project, the product implications and the effects on the wider crypto ecosystem. In this post I’m describing a novel perspective on Libra, which is somewhat different from what you’ll find in most mainstream media outlets. Expect maybe the Financial Times, most have either bought into the ‘crypto narrative’ or have made this another episode of FB privacy rants.
Meanwhile, no one has actually looked at why this is actually a genius idea from the side of Facebook’s balance sheet… So my ‘theory’ involves: An understanding of Libra as a massive money market fund that puts Facebook’s $40bn+ idle cash reserves to productive use and at the same time gives Facebook a huge inflow of interest-bearing liquidity to manage (notably, interest it doesn’t have to pass on to depositors!).The Libra challenges or forces us to revisit Joel Monégro’s ‘fat protocol theory’ in crypto that has come to dominate our thinking on where value is created in crypto (protocol vs. application level).