- Facebook announced its plan for a new cryptocurrency called Libra on Tuesday, explaining in detail why it will be different from other cryptocurrencies.
- The social media giant not only helped fund the technology, but also created an independent company that will act as the wallet for Libra.
- With Facebook’s recent privacy and security issues, people are concerned about trusting the company with their financial information.
Facebook Announces Libra
Facebook announced on Tuesday its plan to launch a new cryptocurrency called Libra, hoping to create what they call “the internet of money”, despite high public distrust in the company over privacy and security issues.
Libra, the statement explains, is expected to launch in 2020 and will be built on three main aspects. The first being a secure and reliable blockchain, which is the system that keeps track of cryptocurrency transactions. The blockchain used for Libra “was built from the group up,” the announcement states.
The company said it did this “to prioritize scalability, security, efficiency in storage and throughput, and future adaptability.”
The second main component of Libra focuses on the cryptocurrency being backed by a reserve of assets. This is what Libra says sets it apart from other cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, which are known for their volatility. With Libra being backed by stable assets actually worth value, it would be a more stable cryptocurrency. However like other cryptocurrencies, Libra is still likely to be affected by some fluctuations when converted to currencies like dollars.
As for the final aspect, the company says it will be governed by an independent group called the Libra Association. The group’s main purpose is to essentially be the administrator of the Libra network and make sure the network is available to other companies that want to take part. The 28 Founding Members, as they’re called, come from a variety of backgrounds and companies. In addition to Facebook, the group includes businesses like Mastercard, eBay, Lyft, Spotify AB, as well as non-profits like Mercy Corps. The members helped fund the reserves that back Libra and hope to have 100 members covering a wide range of organizations as well as academic institutions.
“It’s decentralized,” Mark Zuckerberg wrote on his Facebook when announcing Libra. “Meaning it’s run by many different organizations instead of just one, making the system fairer overall. It’s available to anyone with an internet connection and has low fees and costs.”
Facebook has said once Libra is launched, the company will no longer have authority and will be considered an equal member to the other organizations in the association.
In addition to Facebook’s help funding the technology that makes Libra possible, it also created an independent subsidiary company, Calibra. This company will function as the first wallet for Libra, allowing users to transfer Libra between each other, and eventually pay for items with it. Simply put, it is more-or-less like Venmo and Google Pay put together.
Calibra has already launched a website which is letting people sign up for early access. The website explains that users do not need a Facebook profile to access Calibra, just a government-issued ID. And while Calibra will be available as a stand-alone app, it will also be accessible on WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.
Libra Association says they will try to ensure that the Libra infrastructure will be available to companies other than Calibra so in the future there can be other payments systems that can use the Libra freely.
Many are quick to point out if it is safe to trust Facebook. The company has had numerous issues with privacy and data, making people question if they should be trusted with financial information
According to Reuters, Neil Campling, the head of TMT Research in London, said that “given its history of managing our data, it shouldn’t take much to convince people that Facebook managing our money is probably a terrible idea.”
People on social media have voiced their concerns as well, some even commenting on Zuckerberg’s Facebook post.
On their website, Calibra addresses the privacy and security issues.
“Calibra will not share account information or financial data with Facebook, Inc. or any third party without customer consent. For example, Calibra customers’ account information and financial data will not be used to improve ad targeting on the Facebook, Inc. family of products.”
Noting that only certain cases, such as criminal activity or preventing fraud, would data be shared.
See what others are saying: (Quartz) (Business Insider) (CNN)
Michael B. Jordan Is Renaming His Rum Brand Amid Cultural Appropriation Criticism
“Our intention was never to offend or hurt a culture we love and respect,” Jordan said after backlash from fans and even fellow celebrity Nicki Minaj.
J’Ouvert Rum Sparks Outrage
Actor Michael B. Jordan apologized Tuesday and said he is renaming his rum brand after backlash he received since its launch over the weekend
The brand originally debuted under the name J’Ouvert, but fans quickly expressed their disappointment on social media, accusing the brand of cultural appropriation and exploitation.
The majority of the outrage stemmed from the fact that J’Ouvert is the name of an annual festival held in Trinidad and Tobago, along with other Caribbean islands, during Carnival to celebrate Caribbean culture and emancipation from slavery.
Though Jordan’s business partner on the project is reportedly from Trinidad, Jordan has no ties to the culture, so many accused him of seemingly treating it as an aesthetic.
Others also worried about the name being trademarked, fearing that it could erase J’Ouvert’s history as people come to associate the name with his drink. Some even compared it to Kim Kardashian wanting to name her brand Kimono.
Concerns Reach Officials and Fellow Celebs
At one point, Trinidad and Tobago’s Minister of Trade and Industry Paula Gopee-Scoon told Newsday that the issue was “of extreme concern.”
“The first thing is to gather the information to see if it is in fact so. Then working together with the intellectual property office of the Ministry of the Attorney General, we’ll do the necessary investigation and, as always, seek to support anything that is Trinidad but at the same time protect what is ours.“
“This is of keen interest, not only to the Ministry of Trade and Industry but also to the intellectual property office of the Ministry of the Attorney General, and the Ministry of Tourism and Culture. We all have an interest. Trinidad and Tobago is our interest.”
On Tuesday, rapper Nicki Minaj, who is Trinidadian, called for Jordan to address the issue.
She shared a comment detailing the significant cultural history of the festival, adding in her caption, “I’m sure MBJ didn’t intentionally do anything he thought Caribbean ppl would find offensive. But now that you are aware, change the name & continue to flourish & prosper.“
A few hours later, Jordan did just that, with a statement on his Instagram story.
“I just wanna say on behalf of myself and my partners, our intention was never to offend or hurt a culture we love and respect and hoped to celebrate and shine a positive light on.”
“Last few days has been a lot of listening. A lot of learning and engaging in countless community conversations…We hear you. I hear you and want to be clear that we are in the process of renaming. We sincerely apologize and look forward to introducing a brand we can all be proud of,” he concluded.
See what others are saying: (The Guardian) (Newsday)(CNN)
Amazon UK Destroys Millions in Unsold Stock a Year, Including MacBooks, Face Masks, TVs, and iPads
Amazon claims the unused products aren’t being dumped in landfills, but an investigation by ITV shows otherwise.
Amazon Destroying Unused Products
A probe by British news outlet ITV has found that one Amazon warehouse in Scotland destroys millions of unsold products every year.
It’s not just perishable items being dumped. The list of discarded products includes Macbooks, iPads, Dyson fans, unopened face masks, TVs, jewelry, unread books, and more.
One anonymous former employee told ITV that the warehouse’s target was to get rid of roughly 130,000 items per week, and on average, about 50% of the items destroyed are still unused and in their shrinkwrap.
“There’s no rhyme or reason to what gets destroyed,” the employee said.
In its investigation, ITV received documents that appeared to back up the employee’s information, with one showing 124,000 items marked to be destroyed in a single week. Meanwhile, ITV noted that only 28,000 items were labelled “donate” during that same week.
Where Are the Discarded Products Going?
It also tracked where the items went after leaving the plant. There, it found Amazon taking some electrical items to a nearby waste management system, but it says the rest was tracked to a landfill site.
Despite that, in a statement, Amazon told ITV, “We are working towards a goal of zero product disposal and our priority is to resell, donate to charitable organisations or recycle any unsold products. No items are sent to landfill in the UK. As a last resort, we will send items to energy recovery, but we’re working hard to drive the number of times this happens down to zero.”
Whether it’s telling the truth or not, what Amazon is doing isn’t illegal. In fact, the reason why it’s throwing so much out seems to be connected to its highly successful business model.
“Many vendors choose to house their products in Amazon’s vast warehouses,” ITV explained. “But the longer the goods remain unsold, the more a company is charged to store them. It is eventually cheaper to dispose of the goods, especially stock from overseas, than to continue storing the stock.”
As climate activist Sam Chetan-Welsh told ITV, “It’s just an unimaginable amount of unnecessary waste. It’s absolutely shocking. Each of these items requires natural resources and carbon emissions and human labor to make.”
“That is why as long as Amazon’s business model relies on this kind of disposable culture, they’re just going to expand, things are only going to get worse, and that is why we need the government to step in and set legislation immediately.”
The report has raised questions about how prevalent this destruction practice is and continues to be at other warehouses — especially given past reporting. In fact, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson said, “It sounds incredible to me and an indictment of a consumerist society. If it’s as you say, we will look into it.”
“Obviously, we don’t like stuff going to landfill under any circumstances that’s why we have the landfill tax and landfill credit scheme, and everything else,” the prime minister added. “I’m afraid it’s one of those things we’re just going to have to look into and get back to you.”
Europe’s Soccer Championship Ends Investigation Into Whether Player’s Rainbow Armband Is “Political”
The Union of European Football Associations will continue a probe into potential discrimination at its matches in Hungary, which passed a major anti-LGBTQ+ bill last week.
Pride Armband Isn’t Political, UEFA Says
The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) has agreed that a rainbow armband worn by German soccer player Manuel Neuer is not political in nature, according to the German Football Association (GFA).
Neuer wore the band at two official matches during UEFA’s Euro 2020 Championship and once during a friendly match with Latvia to show support for the LGBTQ+ community during Pride month.
Sunday, multiple outlets reported that UEFA was investigating Neuer’s armband as potentially political, possibly because LGBTQ+ rights have become somewhat of a flashpoint topic since the start of the tournament. Since UEFA does not allow players and teams to participate in “political demonstrations” at events, there were concerns the GFA could be hit with a fine.
Later Sunday, the GFA said UEFA would consider the armband “a sign of support for diversity and thus for ‘good cause,’” and because of that, the team would not face any disciplinary action.
Discrimination Investigation at Hungary Games
The same day outlets reported the investigation into Neuer’s armband, they also reported that UEFA was investigating two matches in Hungary for potential discrimination.
At the first match, an anti-LGBTQ+ banner was spotted in the crowd. At the second, Hungarian fans marched with banners that called on players to stop kneeling to protest racism.
Both events come as Hungary passed a bill against “LGBT propaganda” last week. Notably, that law bans the promotion or portrayal of homosexuality and gender reassignment.
In protest of Hungary’s new law, Munich’s mayor has asked the UEFA to allow the city to light up its stadium in rainbow colors on Wednesday when the German and Hungarian teams square off.