Speaking to Finance Magnates at the Ethereal Summit in Tel Aviv on Sunday, Tomer Barel, the chief operating officer at Facebook’s blockchain project Calibra, said that the social media giant has no connection to trading that is taking place in Libra investment tokens.
Finance Magnates learned from several sources last week that a secondary market in Libra investment tokens already exists, with institutional investors offering and trading in the options-like products.
The tokens are set to be given to the 28 members of the Libra association – a group set up by the social media company to support its nascent blockchain venture. But none of the members have actually received the tokens yet.
And speaking to Finance Magnates at the Ethereal Summit, Barel, who joined Calibra from PayPal last year, said that Facebook has no connection to the market.
“[The tokens] don’t exist yet,” said Barel. “If someone is selling them, it’s on their own, and it’s their problem.”
When asked if the people dealing in Libra tokens are effectively selling “thin air,” Barel replied in the affirmative.
“At the moment, yes [they are selling thin air,]” said the Calibra executive. “Maybe they are selling a promise that in the future they will have the tokens but, at the moment, there are no investment tokens.”
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To trade or not to trade?
Another contentious issue is whether or not the Libra tokens – which will likely act as equity in the cryptocurrency project – will even be tradeable. This still seems to be up in the air.
“This is something that the members of the Libra Association will have to discuss,” said Barel. “Our hope, as we have already shared, is that we would hope that they do allow the tokens to be traded.”
The Calibra executive’s comments came after he gave a talk to a packed audience in Tel Aviv.
Touching on relationships with regulators and other financial authorities, Barel said that Facebook had expected some pushback on Libra and that the company views it as a healthy component of the cryptocurrency’s development.
“We knew that there would be an exchange with regulators and policymakers,” said Barel.
“But we view this as a positive thing. Our goal isn’t just to expand access to financial services across the globe; we also want to support the stability of the world economic system.”
Of course, Libra won’t just affect the existing financial system – it has also crashed into the blockchain industry. But, perhaps surprisingly, Barel said Libra’s biggest competitor isn’t another cryptocurrency but one of the oldest financial tools in the world.
“This may surprise you, but our key competitor is cash,” said Calibra’s chief operating officer. “When people use cash, it demonstrates the current limitations of modern financial services. When we see the use of cash diminish, we see the successful development of financial services.”