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深陷数据泄露丑闻,Facebook研发稳定币背后更大的野心是什么?

全新的互联网金融模式国际资讯

深陷数据泄露丑闻,Facebook研发稳定币背后更大的野心是什么?

上周,彭博社的另一篇文章爆料,消息人士称Facebook正在研究推出一款加密货币,实现用户在其通讯app WhatsApp上的资金转账。这款加密货币将首先进入印度的汇款市场。

这则消息可能会让一些比特币布道者大跌眼镜,因为他们正是想用数字货币来挑战这一类互联网巨头对个人数据的控制,避免数据泄露丑闻再次发生。然而Facebook似乎已经入局了。

无论是被称作无人管控狂野西部的比特币机制,还是有潜力创建跨行业或跨企业分布式数据库的区块链技术,貌似都没有引起facebook创始人扎克伯格的关注,因为该公司的主要业务是通过收集数据来销售广告。

因此,正如彭博社上周报道的那样,Facebook向区块链领域迈出的第一步,看上去更像是简单地将这项技术应用于支付系统中。

该公司的数字代币仍处于起步阶段,将允许用户在WhatsApp上转账,首先开放的是印度汇款市场。据悉,该公司研发的数字代币属于稳定币,将会与美元挂勾,旨在最大程度上降低波动性。

然而这家互联网巨头正在研发貌似并不是一种旨在取代法币或有上涨空间的加密货币,从本质上来看,它只是一种在线借据。

印度显然不是一个成熟的加密货币市场,并且该国监管尚不明晰,那么为什么会成为Facebook的选择呢?印度不仅是跨境汇款大国,并且该国还拥有着全球最大的Facebook用户群体。

以这两点市场优势为基础,Facebook将与伦敦的WorldRemit、PayPal,甚至是西联汇款(Western Union)等汇款平台展开竞争。我们可能会因此而走进无现金社会,加密货币是归途之一。

区块链倡导者们曾设想,他们可以创造一种让用户控制并出售自己个人数据的方式,而不是让互联网巨头从中获利。但Facebook的计划看起来截然不同:通过提供一种内部货币,将用户更安全地锁定在其封闭的花园里。考虑到丰厚的利润,扎克伯格和他的助手们一直拒绝放弃对数据的控制。

由此看来,Facebook并没有加入去中心化革命的大军之中,而是在借助区块链技术来修复自己原有的系统,利用这些技术碎片,来打造股东更能接受的东西。Facebook这样的区块链布局,可能是监管者需要考虑的事情。

The idea that a company as powerful and autocratic as Facebook Inc. would ever dive into crypto-currencies has always seemed a bit like the Death Star deciding to throw a staff Christmas party.

Whether it’s the Bitcoin model itself (Wild West capitalism where nobody’s in charge) or the more corporate-friendly efforts to exploit the blockchain approach (distributed databases across networks within a business or industry) it’s been hard to see how a billionaire like Mark Zuckerberg might find a use for it. His entire business depends on centrally harvesting data to sell ads at a profit.

So it’s no surprise that Facebook’s latest step toward a blockchain product, as reported by Bloomberg News last week, looks like more of a simple co-opting of the technology for a pretty humdrum payment system rather than any headlong rush to join the crypto-revolution.

The company’s digital token, still in its infancy, would let users transfer money on WhatsApp, focusing first on the remittances market in India. It would be a so-called “stablecoin,” which are usually pegged to a currency like the dollar to minimize volatility. There would be a pool of assets stored in custody to protect it.

One can already hear the howls of anguish from the crypto-evangelists. This is not a token designed to displace fiat currencies or soar in price. In theory, one FaceCoin would never be more valuable than the $1 backing it (although in practice, markets can do funny things). It’s essentially an online IOU.

Zuckerberg is hardly inventing the wheel here given that migrant workers already sent home $69 billion to India last year, and India isn’t a ripe crypto-market anyway after its central bank virtually outlawed digital currencies this year. Facebook would be competing instead with services like PayPal’s Xoom, or WorldRemit, or even Western Union. Society might become more cashless as a result, but it’s not going to be any more crypto.

The prophets of blockchain had once imagined that they could create a way for individuals to control and sell their own personal data rather than letting Big Tech profit from doing it. But Facebook’s project looks like the reverse: Locking users more securely within its walled garden by offering them an in-house currency. Zuckerberg and his lieutenants have long been resistant to giving up control of the data; naturally so, given how lucrative it is.

So rather than fix the internet giants, blockchain is itself being repaired. Crypto startups that promised to liberate the world from the yoke of capitalism now can’t even keep their own staff gainfully employed. Facebook’s approach is to take the blockchain’s broken pieces and fashion something far more acceptable to shareholders. This won’t please people who fear its monopoly power, and for good reason. One more thing for regulators to chew on.

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