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All about Libra, the new digital currency.

Just last week Facebook announced that it will be launching Libra, its own cryptocurrency, next year. What's promising about Libra is that it can be used by people who don't have credit cards and bank accounts. And we all know that there are just too many people who fall under this category. They need ways to transact online: pay for goods and services, send money to friends and relatives. Presently, the systems that support these kinds of transactions offer limited value, or are sometimes more expensive.

Libra is being compared to bitcoin and to PayPal, but the difference is that the rules are not that strict. A PayPal account, for example, needs to be linked to a bank account. With Libra, all you need is a mobile phone and Internet connection. Plus, transactions done using Libra will be way cheaper than other means outside the banking and credit-card systems.

Libra Association is handling the new digital currency, under the leadership of Facebook. The other players include eBay, PayPal, Spotify, Uber and other companies. To be able to use Libra, one needs to download a wallet/app, Calibra. For starters, Facebook is planning to incorporate the app within Messenger and WhatsApp so people can easily use it just by texting. And the value of this currency? It's based on an existing currency, like the dollar.

Apparently, there are quite a few reasons Libra will most likely click with Pinoys. We'll find out next year when it launches.

The 34th Asean Summit just recently finished in Thailand. Southeast Asian leaders gathered in Bangkok to talk about trade, the South China Sea and ocean pollution, among other things. As of this writing, the leaders are expected to sign a 'Bangkok Declaration,' a move to fight ocean waste. Another highlight, of course, is the talks on trade, especially amidst the trade war going on between the US and China. Export-led economies are facing uncertain times because of this.

The Asean leaders seem eager to hasten the approval of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which covers India, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and the Asean members. China drafted this commercial deal after Trump decided to pull out from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). RCEP is, therefore, seen by the Asean economies as key to economic recovery, which will help increase trade volume.

In the past, India, New Zealand and Australia expressed concern over some aspects of the trade deal. But further negotiations are happening later in the year, including the signatory economies outside of Asean. After this, everyone expects that RCEP will be signed and new rules of trade will then be in effect in the Asia-Pacific region.

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Publication:Business Mirror (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Jun 24, 2019
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