- Facebook’s Libra white paper includes a brief but potentially seismic nod to digital identity standards.
- With 2 billion users worldwide, Facebook may be able to succeed where others have failed in jump-starting a globally accepted digital ID.
- Some identity experts say this is even more important than the cryptocurrency, but others question how much control Libra would give users and find its approach overbearing.
Buried in Facebook’s Libra white paper are two short sentences hinting that the project’s ambitions go even further than bringing billions of people into the global financial system.
More than launching a price-stable cryptocurrency for the masses, Libra could be aiming to change the way people trust each other on the internet.
At the top of page nine, in a section describing the consortium that will govern the Libra coin, the white paper states:
“An additional goal of the association is to develop and promote an open identity standard. We believe that decentralized and portable digital identity is a prerequisite to financial inclusion and competition.”
That’s all the paper has to say on the topic of identity, perhaps explaining why the brief mention of such a foundational issue for 21st-century commerce escaped widespread notice despite all the hype over the document itself.
But to some observers, the line dropped like a bomb.
Smoothing pathways on the internet using identity is a bigger deal to many people than a putative cryptocurrency,