Critics Weigh in on Facebook's Libra as Roubini Labels it a 'Monopoly Scam'

Neil Dennis
  • 18 Jun 2019

Arch cryptocurrency critic Nouriel Roubini wasted no time on Tuesday in denouncing Facebook's Libra stablecoin a scam to cream as much profit as possible from the Dow 30 company's billions of users.

Just hours after Facebook published its Libra white paper, the respected New York University economics professor colloquially known as Dr Doom because of his accurate forecasts of market bubbles and global bust cycles, took to Twitter to voice his concerns.

Profit building scam

He labelled the Libra project, due for launch in 2020, a "monopoly scam" aimed solely at lifting the social media giant's profits through its many billions of worldwide users.

Roubini was also critical of Facebook's apparent misappropriation of the term "blockchain" to describe the technology that supports the Libra project.

He said on his Twitter feed on Tuesday: 

It will start as a private, permissioned, not-trustless, centralized, oligopolistic, members-only club. So much for calling it 'blockchain'. Like all 'enterprise DLT (distributed ledger technology)' it is blockchain in name only and a monopoly to extract massive seignorage from billions of users. A monopoly scam.

The economist had, a day earlier, slammed Facebook's ambitions to be a global currency issuer.

At a time when Big Tech is coming under sharp legislative scrutiny coz of serious anti-trust concerns and all governments, even the US, want to crack down on these monopolies Facebook wants to become the monopolistic Global Fed without even a bank license. What a ridiculous chutzpah!

Other Twitter critics

Here's what some other members of the global Twitterati had to say about the Facebook's entry into the cryptocurrency market:

Nilay Patel was unable to mask his sarcasm when he wrote:

A cryptocurrency controlled by a cabal of 27 corporations including two giant credit card companies is truly the dream

Nadim Kobeissi was concerned about the security implications:

Libra is wrong. Anyone using Libra is doing something wrong and its developers were wrong to build it. Anything that encourages and normalizes Facebook having a global currency on top of its existing unchecked global empire of spying, personal data resale and abuse is dead wrong.

And, as reported earlier, French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire was concerned about the potential to use such a currency in terrorism funding and other illegal activity, but also expressed worries about consumer protection. "We have to make sure there is no threat to the consumer," he said.

But not everyone was a critic. Andrew Yang, a US Presidential hopeful for 2020, said on Twitter:

The new Facebook-backed cryptocurrency Libra could be a big step for the hundreds of millions of unbanked around the world. It’s use of the blockchain makes a lot of sense. Could even curb corruption as a lot of int’l aid money intended for impoverished people never reaches them.