As Facebook Prepares for Libra Launch, Indonesia Reveals Details About Their Plan

  • Facebook launched their whitepaper in several languages, including Indonesia’s native language.
  • Previous disagreements around the violent protests during the election led Indonesia’s government to ban Facebook’s Instagram and WhatsApp platforms.

There are seven languages that the whitepaper for Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency has been published in, at this point, one of which is Indonesia’s Bahasa.

With this simple decision, the fintech journey for Facebook is a little clearer, rich with possible reasons for doing so. Tokocrypto, a crypto exchange in Indonesia, spoke with CoinDesk about these developments, stating:

“Indonesia has the fourth-highest number of Facebook users in the world. If Facebook’s Libra can address the [local] issues, it has the potential to succeed.”

Indonesia reportedly has the highest rate of post engagement on Facebook, amongst other internet users, based on an annual media report that was released by We Are Social and Hootsuite. This report also shows that local internet users have the highest frequency of online shopping, considering that 86% of the respondents said that they had shopped online in the last month.

With double the amount of people involved in cryptocurrency that the US has at 10%, Facebook has chosen a fertile place to plant their cryptocurrency efforts. Joshua Ho, a trader with the Indonesian exchange and the co-founder of QCP Capital, believes that Libra could make a major difference in their local economy.

Ho believes that, due to the financial crisis that was sustained in 1997 in Asia that led to inflation and recession, cryptocurrency could open a door for the public. After all, much of the public still believes that banks and fiat currency are not to be trusted.

Bringing to the forefront the estimate by the World Bank that Indonesia has one of the larges unbanked populations in the world, Facebook’s decision to publish their crypto whitepaper in their native language is a major stand for the nation.

Nathan McCauley, the CEO of Anchorage and a founding member of the Libra Association, explained to CoinDesk that adoption by unbanked citizens will largely be driven by the acceptance of Libra by merchants. This startup will provide support for security and custody features within the Libra ecosystem, particularly in how they relate to the Libra investment token.

With how present Facebook is in the Indonesian community, there are still some questions arising about how the cryptocurrency will affect retail users. TechCrunch, for example, shows that the government responded to violent protests against the controversial election by censoring the ability for consumers to access WhatsApp and Instagram, which are both owned by Facebook.

Considering that WhatsApp and Instagram were not actually involved, and yet they still succumbed to the restrictions caused by Facebook, how could this impact the relationship with their cryptocurrency. Another blog chimed in from Nym. The CTO, Dave Hrycyszyn, commented,

“Libra will provide Facebook and its partners with the ability to analyze every purchase by every single Libra user.”

The blog went on, saying that Facebook has promised to keep the personal data on the website separate from these financial transactions. However, there is not anything setup in Libra that would prevent them from taking this step.

How will Indonesia handle Libra now, and what kind of power will Facebook wield? As the next year unfolds before the launch, these details will hopefully be clarified.

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