Facebook Inc. is hoping that the stars will be aligned favourably when it launches its digital currency, christened Libra, in the first half of the next calendar year. The odds, though, are stacked against the world’s largest social networking site, despite it having a massive user base of nearly four billion users globally and over 700 million users in India alone (if one accounts for WhatsApp’s users too).
For one, Libra, when launched, will be just one of the over 1,600 cryptocurrencies globally (with new ones emerging every week)—the largest being Bitcoin, followed by Ripple, Ethereum and Tether that cumulatively account for about 90% of the market capitalization. In India, too, Paytm and PhonePe cumulatively account for a little over 80% share of all digital wallet accounts in the country. Libra, thus, will not have a first mover’s advantage.