Facebook: a fork for Libra to make it open source
Crypto

Facebook: a fork for Libra to make it open source

By Marco Cavicchioli - 9 Oct 2019

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A fork of Libra’s open-source code has been launched to create an open version, without Facebook, called OpenLibra. This was announced on Twitter this morning. 

Camila Russo wrote: 

Wow, I guess this was bound to happen, Libra is being forked into OpenLibra, a permissionless version of Facebook’s blockchain, @geiger_lucas just announced at Devcon”.

In another tweet by Lane Rettig, several photos and the link to the forked code repository on GitHub were made public. 

The Libra code is open source and public, but the network is permissioned: therefore, if on the one hand anyone can access and download the code, on the other, only those authorised by the Libra Association are allowed to carry out operations such as adding transactions to the blockchain. 

At the time of launch, the association declared that Libra’s network would only be permissioned during the initial period, promising to open it to everyone in the future, but without stating when. 

Lucas Geiger’s initiative was to take Libra’s public code and modify it to make it permissionless, i.e. open to everyone, and to call the new network OpenLibra

In fact, since it is a fork that generates a new protocol very similar to the previous one, but incompatible with it, it actually involves the creation of a new network and a new cryptocurrency that shares with Libra a large part of the code. 

The website of the new project says that OpenLibra would like to be an open platform for financial inclusion, not managed by Facebook. That is, an alternative to Libra, focused on open governance and economic decentralisation.

The project was created by several companies and non-profit foundations working in the field of applied cryptography and blockchain. Members include, in addition to Lucas Geiger, representatives from the Ethereum Foundation, Cosmos, Columbia University, the University of Singapore, and many others.

The project’s strategy is to build on Libra’s strengths, extending them where necessary. 

However, beyond the emphasis on the limits of the Facebook project, OpenLibra does not really explain how it intends to overcome them. For instance, since Libra is a stablecoin supported by a pool of fiat currencies that have to be stored by someone as a reserve, it is hard to understand how one could do the same in a decentralised and permissionless way, and at present, the website does not provide any explanation. 

More information is required to understand how this new protocol could realistically operate. 

Marco Cavicchioli
Marco Cavicchioli

Class 1975, Marco teaches web-technologies and is an online writer specializing in cryptocurrencies. He founded ilBitcoin.news, and his YouTube channel has more than 11 thousand subscribers.

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