HTC Exec: Facebook Coin is like the Intranet, Bitcoin is like the Internet

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As the Bitcoin bear market ran its course through 2018 and early-2019, Facebook quietly entered the cryptocurrency and blockchain space. While the details of the venture were kept under lock and key at first, more and more has leaked about what pundits call “FBCoin,” a crypto asset from the social media giant that could bring this innovation to billions.While many technologists have opened their arms to this innovation, lauding the potential for a revolution in fintech, what do pundits of true, decentralized cryptocurrencies think of FBCoin? And more importantly, does it pose a threat to Bitcoin or projects of a similar caliber?NewsBTC was lucky enough to see these pertinent questions answered in an array of recent interviews at Token2049, Hong Kong’s premier industry conference.Related Reading: Crypto Industry Execs: This Bitcoin Bear Market Is The Best YetIs FBCoin Good For Bitcoin?If you’ve been living under a proverbial rock, here’s what we know about Facebook Coin. Sources tell Bloomberg that this digital asset will first be slated to appeal to Whatsapp’s India demographic, specifically to satisfy the need for digital domestic payments, which have risen to prominence in China. The cryptocurrency, if it can be called that, will be run with a stablecoin-esque model, in that it’s backed by assets external to the crypto industry. It isn’t known if the coin will be run on a blockchain, but Facebook’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, has mentioned distributed ledger technologies in a number of interviews.No matter if its blockchain-based or otherwise, analysts have predicted FBCoin could garner monumental levels of traction, and in a matter of a few years no less. Specifically, Ross Sandler of Barclays expressed in a note that Facebook’s in-house crypto asset could be a $19 billion revenue boon for the company by 2021 — just two years away. Sandler cited the fact that each Google Play Store user nets $6/user for the Internet giant, and that Facebook may see similar financial success if FBCoin becomes the ubiquitous asset of that three billion person ecosystem.But some of crypto’s diehards aren’t all too happy with this, especially considering the uncertainty around the decentralization status of the coin.Technologist Phil Chen, the decentralized chief officer at HTC, tells us that FBCoin, and JP Morgan’s asset for that matter, are much like intranets. Bitcoin, in his eyes, is much more like the Internet — a multi-faceted, (mostly) permissionless system that fosters innovation through freedom. While he claims that there is room for both private and permissionless cryptocurrencies, the two subsets are inherently antithetical and may have trouble existing in a mesh.Mark Lamb from CoinFLEX explained to NewsBTC that if Facebook’s asset exists in its notorious walled garden, FBCoin will only be just as “interesting as Venmo or PayPal,” which will be good for the Silicon Valley firm but not for Bitcoin. Even so, he added that more likely than not, all enterprise blockchain ventures will fail in time, citing the fact that “when you have a private system, just use a database.”

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