• Opinion | Crashing Crypto: Is This Time Different? - The New York Times

    By now, we’ve all heard of them, but what exactly are cryptocurrencies? Many people — including, I fear, many people who have invested in them — probably still don’t fully understand them. Saying that they’re digital assets doesn’t really get at it. My bank account, which I mainly reach online, is also a digital asset, for all practical purposes.

    What’s distinctive about cryptocurrencies is how ownership is established. I own the money in my bank account because the law says I do, and the bank enforces that legal claim by requiring, one way or another, that I prove that I am, in fact, me. Ownership of a crypto asset is established through what’s known as the blockchain, an encrypted (hence the name) digital record of all previous transfers of ownership that supposedly obviates the need for an external party, such as a bank, to validate a claim.

    In the past, cryptocurrencies kept going up by attracting an ever-growing range of investors. Crypto was once held by a small clique that often had the feel of a cult, motivated in part by a combination of libertarian ideology and fascination with the clever use of technology. Over time, rising crypto prices drew in large numbers of additional investors and some big Wall Street money.
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    And in the past year or so, crypto marketing has gone really mainstream, with endorsements from celebrities — including Matt Damon, Kim Kardashian and Mike Tyson — not to mention political figures like Mayor Eric Adams of New York and the (unsuccessful) Republican Senate candidate Josh Mandel, who declared his intention to make Ohio “pro-God, pro-family, pro-Bitcoin.” Given all this, it’s hard to see who else there might be to recruit into crypto investing.

    One disturbing aspect of this marketing push, by the way, is that those who bought cryptocurrencies relatively recently — and have therefore lost a lot of money in the crypto crash — probably consist disproportionately of the kind of people most likely to be influenced by celebrity endorsements. That is, they are probably poorer and less sophisticated than the average investor and badly positioned to handle the losses they’ve taken over the past few months.

    As it is, cryptocurrencies play almost no role in economic transactions other than speculation in crypto markets themselves. And if your answer is “give it time,” you should bear in mind that Bitcoin has been around since 2009, which makes it ancient by tech standards; Apple introduced the iPad in 2010. If crypto was going to replace conventional money as a medium of exchange — a means of payment — surely we should have seen some signs of that happening by now. Just try paying for your groceries or other everyday goods using Bitcoin. It’s nearly impossible.

    And then there’s El Salvador, which tried to force the process by making Bitcoin legal tender and heavily promoting and subsidizing its use, in an attempt to make it a true medium of exchange. All indications are that the experiment has been an abject failure.

    #Cryptomonnaires #Monnaie_numérique #Paul_Krugman

  • Les cryptomonnaies dans la guerre d’Ukraine ? - Institut Rousseau

    À l’exception de l’aide apportée à quelques Ukrainiens ou Russes qui ont réussi à temps à convertir leur argent en cryptomonnaies et qui ont pu les faire s’échapper de leur pays, les cryptomonnaies n’ont donc pas à la date où j’écris prouvé qu’elles avaient une très grande importance dans de déroulement des évènements liés à cette guerre.

    Ce qui empêche aujourd’hui que les cryptomonnaies jouent un rôle vraiment significatif dans une situation de crise tient à quatre points :

    Les cryptomonnaies ne sont utiles pour sortir vite de l’argent d’une zone prise dans une guerre, que si on a converti en cryptomonnaies les sommes concernées avant la crise, car une fois le conflit enclenché de telles conversions deviennent de plus en plus difficiles et risquées ;
    La difficulté à les manipuler et surtout le fait qu’en situation de guerre l’électricité et donc les réseaux risquent d’être coupés rendent les cryptomonnaies peu susceptibles d’être adoptées par une population sur le terrain. Il ne semble pas aujourd’hui, même en cas de désordres économiques et sociaux majeurs, que les cryptomonnaies puissent se substituer à une monnaie locale, au dollar ou à l’euro ;
    La volatilité des cryptomonnaies fera hésiter à convertir des sommes très importantes ;
    Les cryptomonnaies sont devenues partiellement censurables, surtout si on les détient sur des plateformes d’échange. Leur anonymat est imparfait et les techniques progressent du côté des autorités permettant un suivi et un contrôle de plus en plus efficace de ce que se passe dans le cyberespace des cryptomonnaies et sur les registres des blockchains

    #Cryptomonaires #Monnaie_numérique

  • Project “Zuck Bucks”: Meta plans virtual coin after cryptocurrency flop | Ars Technica

    Meta has drawn up plans to introduce virtual coins, tokens, and lending services to its apps, as Facebook’s parent company pursues its finance ambitions despite the collapse of a project to launch a cryptocurrency.

    The company, led by chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, is seeking alternative revenue streams and new features that can attract and retain users, as popularity falls for its main social networking products such as Facebook and Instagram—a trend that threatens its $118 billion-a-year ad-based business model.

    Facebook’s financial arm, Meta Financial Technologies, has been exploring the creation of a virtual currency for the metaverse, which employees internally have dubbed “Zuck Bucks,” according to several people familiar with the efforts.

    This is unlikely to be a cryptocurrency based on the blockchain, some of the people said. Instead, Meta is leaning toward introducing in-app tokens that would be centrally controlled by the company, similar to those used in gaming apps such as the robux currency in the popular children’s game Roblox.

    According to company memos and people close to the plans, Meta is also looking into the creation of “social tokens” or “reputation tokens,” which could be issued as rewards for meaningful contributions in Facebook groups, for example. Another effort is to make “creator coins” that might be associated with particular influencers on its photo-sharing app Instagram.

    According to one memo shared internally last week, Meta plans to launch a pilot for posting and sharing NFTs on Facebook in mid-May. This will be “quickly followed” by testing of a feature that will allow membership of Facebook groups based on NFT ownership and another for minting—a term for creating—NFTs.

    But the push has been plagued by setbacks and regulatory scrutiny. Earlier this year, the global cryptocurrency project that it spearheaded, diem, was wound down and its assets sold to Californian bank Silvergate, after US regulators refused to give the pilot the green light over monetary stability and competition concerns.

    Amid internal frustrations, Meta’s financial division has suffered what one former employee described as a “mass exodus” of staff over the past six months. Its head David Marcus left at the end of last year, along with key engineers, compliance staff, and nearly its entire legal team.

    Those who remain are looking into how to create or support digital currencies in its metaverse—an avatar-filled virtual world that Zuckerberg hopes will eventually generate billions of dollars in commerce for digital goods and services.

    The new plans represent a far cry from diem and the dream of creating a cryptocurrency. Staffers are now trying to find the least regulated way to offer a digital currency, two people said, with a digital token that is not based on the blockchain emerging as the most attractive option.

    It would not be the first time Facebook has introduced such a currency to its ecosystem. It launched Facebook Credits in 2009, a virtual currency that enabled users to make in-app purchases, typically in games such as FarmVille. This represented 16 percent of revenues at the time of its initial public offering in 2012, according to Barclays, but was shut down in 2013 because it was too costly to maintain.

    Where some of Meta’s efforts are focused on digital payments, other efforts are part of broader plans to use blockchain technology to introduce more “decentralization” across its platforms, amid a growing buzz in Silicon Valley around the so-called Web3 movement.

    Web3 advocates typically seek to wield distributed ledger technology to allow users more control and ownership over their data and disintermediate big tech groups that typically monetize that data as part of their ad-based business models.

    But Meta appears to be embracing some Web3 ideals. It is exploring whether to store data on a blockchain, how it might give users more control over their digital identity and whether their identity or accounts can be transferred to, or used across, other platforms beyond Meta’s apps, according to one planning document.

    Meanwhile, its plans to reward users for credible content with social tokens might allow Meta to remove itself as a central content moderator and give Facebook communities more power in moderating themselves, according to the document.

    #Facebook #NFT #Meta #Monnaie_numérique #Fintech #Web3

  • Biden is planning a new digital currency. Here’s why you should be ...

    Biden is planning a new digital currency. Here’s why you should be very worried

    March 26, 2022



    The order further directs the Treasury Department, Office of the Attorney General and Federal Reserve to work together to produce a “legislative proposal” to create a digital currency within 210 days, about seven months.

    A #digital_dollar would not merely be a digital version of the existing U.S. #dollar, but rather an entirely new currency that would, at least at first, exist alongside today’s currency. Similar to cash, the CBDC would be used to pay for goods and services and would likely be managed by the Federal Reserve, the central bank of the United States.

    Unlike (...)

    • (...) Unlike the current dollar, though, a central bank #digital_currency would not exist in physical form, meaning you wouldn’t be able to go to a bank or ATM and withdraw it.

      It is important to understand that the digital dollar would not be similar to cryptocurrencies like bitcoin. #Cryptocurrencies operate on blockchain technology, which is decentralized by design. No group or individual can truly control cryptocurrencies once they are launched.

      Digital dollars, on the other hand, would be #traceable and #programmable. The #Federal_Reserve (or some other designated entity) would have the ability to create more digital dollars whenever it sees fit, and, depending on how the legislation is written setting up the #currency, the dollars could be formulated to have various rules and restrictions built into their design.


      #monnaie_numérique #États-Unis

  • L’attrait des cryptomonnaies dans un Liban en crise

    « Au début des années 2010, seuls les fous achetaient du bitcoin au Liban ; aujourd’hui, ils sont millionnaires ! Depuis un an et demi, tout le monde est dans les cryptomonnaies, même mon boucher ! », s’amuse Mario Awad, qui s’est lancé avec des amis en 2017. Les monnaies virtuelles n’attirent plus seulement une petite communauté d’avertis, qui partagent la philosophie libertarienne à l’origine de leur création, ou ceux motivés par l’envie d’en être. Le naufrage financier du Liban, qui a vu la monnaie locale perdre 90 % de sa valeur face au dollar, et les banques imposer des restrictions sur la circulation des capitaux, a décidé de nombreux Libanais à utiliser les cryptomonnaies pour effectuer des transactions et investir ce qu’il leur reste d’économies.

    #Cryptomonnaie #Liban #Monnaie_numérique

  • Bitcoin’s Troubles Go Far Beyond Elon Musk | The New Yorker

    All speculative market manias produce signature characters. From the Yale economist Irving Fisher, who, in October, 1929, pronounced that stock prices had reached “what looks like a permanently high plateau,” to Charles Prince, the chief executive of Citigroup, who, in July, 2007, remarked, “As long as the music is playing, you’ve got to get up and dance,” these individuals are forever tied to the bubbles they got caught up in. When the story of bitcoin is written, there will be many crypto boosters to choose from, such as the Winklevoss twins; the hedge-fund manager Paul Tudor Jones; and Cathie Wood, a pioneer of funds devoted to investing in disruptive companies. Right now, though, the individual most clearly associated with bitcoin’s travails is Elon Musk, the C.E.O. of Tesla and SpaceX.

    It makes an entertaining narrative to focus on Musk, but the issues facing the crypto market go well beyond one individual. Briefly stated, the bitcoin boom faces two existential threats: a tightening of monetary policy by the Federal Reserve, and a legal crackdown by the Chinese and other governments intent on protecting their own currencies. The prospect of a Fed shift could cause the price of bitcoin to fall a lot farther. The spectre of concerted government action to restrict the trading and use of bitcoin is potentially even more perilous: it brings into question the long-term viability of the digital currency.

    Since it doesn’t yield any cash flows, bitcoin’s value as an investment asset is essentially arbitrary. Like a work of art, it is worth what people believe it’s worth—a fact that Marion Laboure, an analyst at Deutsche Bank, highlighted in a March, 2021, research report. She called this “the Tinkerbell Effect.”

    To be sure, some bitcoin boosters claim that the currency is the new gold: an asset that, although of limited intrinsic utility, does provide a valuable hedge against a fall in the stock market and other financial assets. Recently, however, bitcoin acted more like a risky meme stock, falling sharply as bond yields rose and investors fretted about a change in Fed policy to head off the threat of inflation. Last week’s rout coincided with the news that some Fed policymakers want to start discussing a plan for tightening the central bank’s money spigot, which has remained fully open even as the economy has rebounded. As bitcoin plunged last week, the price of actual gold rose.

    Given the nature of speculative markets and the widespread interest in the blockchain technology that underpins bitcoin and other digital currencies, it’s unwise to make firm predictions. But, on top of dealing with the possibility of a reversal in U.S. monetary policy, crypto bulls are facing the possibility of other countries following China’s lead and cracking down on bitcoin—the rise of which could present a competitive threat to government-issued currencies—such as the renminbi, the euro, and even the dollar—which are also called fiat currencies. If bitcoin or another peer-to-peer digital currency did achieve widespread acceptance as a means of payment, this would be a profound global economic development. Commercial banks could be circumvented. Financial regulations could be evaded. Governments could lose control over monetary policy and the ability to track money transfers for tax and crime-fighting purposes.

    The United States and other Western countries haven’t yet gone as far as China has, but their governments aren’t standing idle, either. Earlier this year, Janet Yellen, the Treasury Secretary, described bitcoin (correctly) as an “extremely inefficient way of conducting transactions,” and pointed out (equally correctly) that it is used “often for illicit finance.” (A couple of weeks ago, when Colonial Pipeline, the company that runs a main fuel-supply line on the Eastern Seaboard, agreed to pay hackers a ransom of $4.4 million, it paid in bitcoin.)

    #Bitcoin #Spéculation #Monnaie_numérique

  • Leaked pics reveal Google smart debit card to rival Apple’s | TechCrunch

    Would you pay with a “Google Card?” TechCrunch has obtained imagery that shows Google is developing its own physical and virtual debit cards. The Google card and associated checking account will allow users to buy things with a card, mobile phone or online. It connects to a Google app with new features that let users easily monitor purchases, check their balance or lock their account. The card will be co-branded with different bank partners, including CITI and Stanford Federal Credit Union.

    A source provided TechCrunch with the images seen here, as well as proof that they came from Google. Another source confirmed that Google has recently worked on a payments card that its team hopes will become the foundation of its Google Pay app — and help it rival Apple Pay and the Apple Card. Currently, Google Pay only allows online and peer-to-peer payments by connecting a traditionally issued payment card. A “Google Pay Card” would vastly expand the app’s use cases, and Google’s potential as a fintech giant.

    Google the financial services company?

    By building a smart debit card, Google has the opportunity to unlock new streams of revenue and data. It could potentially charge interchange fees on purchases made with the card or other checking account fees, and then split them with its banking partners. Depending on its privacy decisions, Google could use transaction data on what people buy to improve ad campaign measurement or even targeting. Brands might be willing to buy more Google ads if the tech giant can prove they drive a sales lift.

    The long-term implications are even greater. While once the industry joke was that every app eventually becomes a messaging app, more recently it’s been that every tech company eventually becomes a financial services company. A smart debit card and checking accounts could pave the way for Google offering banking, stock brokerage, financial advice or robo-advising, accounting, insurance or lending.

    #Monnaie_numérique #Google #Fintech

  • We just glimpsed how a “digital dollar” might work, thanks to coronavirus - MIT Technology Review

    Fabuleux... ainsi, ce qui a été refusé à la Grèce à la demande de Ianis Varoufakis par la Troika serait envisagé pour les Etats-Unis !!!
    La souffrance des Grecs devait donc être moins forte... "La misère serait moins pénible au soleil".
    A moins que ce ne soit tout simplement la loi du plus fort, comme toujours.

    How are these two things related? Many people need cash in their hands as soon as possible to make up for income lost to the pandemic and related shutdowns. On Wednesday, leaders in Congress struck a deal to make that happen. Under a bill that passed the Senate yesterday and is expected to quickly pass in the House, eligible Americans will be able to receive cash payments of up to $1,200 from the government.

    In the end, policymakers decided to dole out that money using existing methods, like direct bank account deposits and mailed paper checks. But at one point late in the debate, powerful Democrats in the House appeared to back the creation of a brand-new, government-run payment platform that would run on a digital version of the dollar.

    Even though the proposed system didn’t make the final cut for the coronavirus response bill, it appears the digital dollar got closer than ever to becoming a reality. And the pandemic-fueled crisis may just end up being an important turning point in the discussion.

    In some ways, the dollar is already digital. The digits in your bank account stand for dollars, and you can pay with dollars by swiping your credit card. But those digits in your bank account are debts that your bank owes you. A true digital dollar would be a debt the US government owes you. That’s also what physical cash represents. In most countries, a government IOU is less risky than an IOU from a commercial bank, particularly during a panic. Hence the popular reference to stockpiling cash under a mattress.

    But outside China, which appears to be on the verge of issuing a digital yuan, the discussion of so-called central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) has thus far been mostly theoretical. That’s certainly been true in the US, where the officials from the Federal Reserve have said repeatedly that the central bank has no plans to issue a digital dollar. Now the conversation may be getting more practical.

    The best evidence is a passage that appeared in an early draft of the House Democrats’ proposed economic relief plan. Like the bill Congress appears poised to pass, the older draft also called on the Department of the Treasury to make cash payments to US residents. But it also called on the Fed to create a digital currency system to dole out such payments. It charged the central bank with making “digital dollar wallets” available to all citizens and legal permanent residents of the US as well as “business entities for which the principal place of business is located in the United States.”

    The draft bill outlined a concept called “FedAccounts.” Today, the Fed offers accounts only to banks. Under FedAccounts, it would offer them to all Americans. Since the US doesn’t require commercial banks to offer an account to anyone who wants one, “the banking system finds a way to exclude people who aren’t profitable,” says Morgan Ricks, a professor at Vanderbilt Law School who coauthored the academic paper that coined the term “FedAccounts” and introduced the idea in 2018. The government could solve that problem by turning retail banking into a public service, he argues.

    The FedAccounts language was eventually scrubbed. But the fact that it appeared in a draft of such an important bill suggests that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi takes the idea seriously. Plus, a similarly worded proposal has already appeared in a new draft Senate banking bill that is unrelated to the pandemic.

    It’s no surprise that the digital dollar was removed from the relief package. Setting up the FedAccounts system would be “really complicated,” says Jai Massari, a partner at the Washington, DC, law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell, who represents clients ranging from big banks to financial technology companies. “That is a big tech build, it raises lots of legal questions of all sorts, and it is not practical as a way to get immediate stimulus payments out to individuals.”

    Nonetheless, now that the idea has made it this far, it would not be surprising to see it reemerge down the road and be considered more seriously then, she says.

    Ricks agrees that launching FedAccounts should be nowhere near the top of Congress’s priority list right now. But in theory, it could work better than the tools the government has now for distributing cash payments during economic crises like this one, he says.

    Democratic aides in the Senate told the New York Times that under the deal congressional leaders have agreed on, eligible Americans will be able to get their cash payments via direct bank deposit, provided the Internal Revenue Service has their account information on file. In that case, it would arrive just a few weeks after the president signs the bill into law, according to that report. But if the IRS does not have that information for you, the money would come as a check, and you would have to wait up to four months for it.

    That’s not ideal, says Ricks, because it puts those without bank accounts at a severe disadvantage. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation estimated in 2017 that 6.5% of American households are “unbanked,” meaning that no one has a checking or savings account. People without bank accounts can use check cashing services, but those services charge fees. Another option would be to use the Treasury Department’s Direct Express Mastercard, a prepaid card the government already uses to distribute benefits. But these cards are not a great solution either, because they aren’t reloadable, says Ricks.

    Ultimately, however, even if it’s true the system could be improved with FedAccounts, such a change would cause significant disruption to the banking system in the US. And some of the potential implications are hard to predict, says Massari. The Fed doesn’t have experience providing retail services to millions of people. Would people be inclined to use these services? If so, how would that change what the Fed is? How would it change what commercial banks are? “This would be really big,” Massari says.


  • An elegy for cash: the technology we might never replace - MIT Technology Review

    This is a feature of physical cash that payment cards and apps do not have: freedom. Called “bearer instruments,” banknotes and coins are presumed to be owned by whoever holds them. We can use them to transact with another person without a third party getting in the way. Companies cannot build advertising profiles or credit ratings out of our data, and governments cannot track our spending or our movements. And while a credit card can be declined and a check mislaid, handing over money works every time, instantly.

    We shouldn’t take this freedom for granted. Much of our commerce now happens online. It relies on banks and financial technology companies to serve as middlemen. Transactions are going digital in the physical world, too: electronic payment tools, from debit cards to Apple Pay to Alipay, are increasingly replacing cash. While notes and coins remain popular in many countries, including the US, Japan, and Germany, in others they are nearing obsolescence.

    This trend has civil liberties groups worried. Without cash, there is “no chance for the kind of dignity-preserving privacy that undergirds an open society,” writes Jerry Brito, executive director of Coin Center, a policy advocacy group based in Washington, DC. In a recent report, Brito contends that we must “develop and foster electronic cash” that is as private as physical cash and doesn’t require permission to use.

    The central question is who will develop and control the electronic payment systems of the future. Most of the existing ones, like Alipay, Zelle, PayPal, Venmo, and Kenya’s M-Pesa, are run by private firms. Afraid of leaving payments solely in their hands, many governments are looking to develop some sort of electronic stand-in for notes and coins. Meanwhile, advocates of stateless, ownerless cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin say they’re the only solution as surveillance-proof as cash—but can they be feasible at large scales?

    We tend to take it for granted that new technologies work better than old ones—safer, faster, more accurate, more efficient, more convenient. Purists may extol the virtues of vinyl records, but nobody can dispute that a digital music collection is easier to carry and sounds almost exactly as good. Cash is a paradox—a technology thousands of years old that may just prove impossible to re-create in a more advanced form.


    That’s why it would be a problem if Sweden were to go completely “cashless,” Söderberg says. He and his colleagues fear that if people lose the option to convert their bank money to government money at will and use it to pay for whatever they need, they might start to lose trust in the whole money system. A further worry is that if the private sector is left to dominate digital payments, people who can’t or won’t use these systems could be shut out of the economy.

    This is fast becoming more than just a thought experiment in Sweden. Nearly everyone there uses a mobile app called Swish to pay for things. Economists have estimated that retailers in Sweden could completely stop accepting cash by 2023.

    Creating an electronic version of Sweden’s sovereign currency—an “e-krona”—could mitigate these problems, Söderberg says. If the central bank were to issue digital money, it would design it to be a public good, not a profit-making product for a corporation. “Easily accessible, simple and user-friendly versions could be developed for those who currently have difficulty with digital technology,” the bank asserted in a November report covering Sweden’s payment landscape.

    The Riksbank plans to develop and test an e-krona prototype. It has examined a number of technologies that might underlie it, including cryptocurrency systems like Bitcoin. But the central bank has also called on the Swedish government to lead a broad public inquiry into whether such a system should ever go live. “In the end, this decision is too big for a central bank alone, at least in the Swedish context,” Söderberg says.

    Cash is already dying out on its own in China, thanks to Alipay and WeChat, the QR-code-based apps that have become ubiquitous in just a few years. It’s been estimated that mobile payments made up more than 80% of all payments in China in 2018, up from less than 20% in 2013.

    It’s not clear how much access the government currently has to transaction data from WeChat Pay and Alipay. Once it issues a sovereign digital currency—which officials say will be compatible with those two services—it will likely have access to a lot more. Martin Chorzempa, a research fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington, DC, told the New York Times in October that the system will give the PBOC “extraordinary power and visibility into the financial system, more than any central bank has today.”

    With Bitcoin, although transactions are public, users don’t have to reveal who they really are; each person’s “address” on the public blockchain is just a random string of letters and numbers. But in recent years, law enforcement officials have grown skilled at combining public blockchain data with other clues to unmask people using cryptocurrencies for illicit purposes. Indeed, in a July blog post, Libra project head David Marcus argued that the currency would be a boon for law enforcement, since it would help “move more cash transactions—where a lot of illicit activities happen—to a digital network.”

    Robleh Ali, a research scientist at MIT’s Digital Currency Initiative, says digital currency systems from central banks may need to be designed so that the government can “consciously blind itself” to the information. Something like that might be technically possible thanks to cutting-edge cryptographic tools like zero-knowledge proofs, which are used in systems like Zcash to shield blockchain transaction information from public view.

    However, there’s no evidence that any governments are even thinking about deploying tools like this. And regardless, can any government—even Sweden’s—really be trusted to blind itself?

    With no middleman like a bank attesting that a transaction took place, each transaction has to be validated by a majority of the nodes in a cryptocurrency’s network, which can number many thousands. But this requires an immense expenditure of computing power, and it’s the reason Bitcoin transactions can take more than an hour to settle.

    A currency like Libra wouldn’t have this problem, because only a few authorized entities would be able to operate nodes. The trade-off is that its users wouldn’t be able to trust those entities to guarantee their privacy, any more than they can trust a bank, a government, or Facebook.

    In summary, we have three avenues for the future of digital money, none of which offers the same mix of freedom and ease of use that characterizes cash. Private companies have an obvious incentive to monetize our data and pursue profits over public interest. Digital government money may still be used to track us, even by well-intentioned governments, and for less benign ones it’s a fantastic tool for surveillance. And cryptocurrency can prove useful when freedoms are at risk, but it likely won’t work at scale anytime soon, if ever.

    How big a problem is this? That depends on where you live, how much you trust your government and your fellow citizens, and why you wish to use cash. And if you’d rather keep that to yourself, you’re in luck. For now.

    #Monnaie_numérique #Bitcoin #Libra #Cash #Banques #Confiance

  • A-t-on enterré trop vite le cash ? Le Temps du débat par Emmanuel Laurentin - 30 Octobre 2019 - france culture

    "Bitcoin", "Lydia", "Libra" ... La disparition du cash est annoncée depuis plusieurs années, et dans certains pays (Chine, Suède) les espèces deviennent obsolètes. A-t-on encore besoin du cash ? Quels avantages, quels inconvénients ? A qui profite de la disparition des espèces, et qui en pâtit ?


    Création récente de la monnaie virtuelle initiée par Facebook, la Libra, lancement possible d’une crypto monnaie en Chine, création d’un service Uber Money : toutes ces nouvelles récentes laissent présager le pire pour la survie des monnaies classiques telles que nous les connaissions sous leur forme papier ou métallique. Et une même petite musique laisse entendre que pour des raisons fiscales et de lutte contre le blanchiment en particulier les gouvernements voudraient se débarrasser du cash. Pourtant il y a dix jours, la Monnaie de Paris rendait un diagnostic exactement inverse, imaginant la survie du paiement en espèces.

    • Entretien avec Manuel Valente, directeur de CoinHouse, pour le Journal du Net, le 05/07/2018
    • Entretien avec Jeanne Lazarus , « Les Français semblent mûrs » , Le Parisien le 23/08/2014
    • Sur la Monnaie de Paris et son PDG, Marc Schwartz : Monnaie de Paris : comment le nouveau patron veut consolider le modèle économique, Les Echos, le 17/05/2019 et La Monnaie de Paris ne croit pas à la disparition du cash, Les Echos, le 21/10/2019

    #argent #cash #banques #finances #blokchain #économie #monnaie #euro #argent #bitcoin #libra #économie #europe #union_européenne #contrôle #confiance #Suède #liberté #blockchain #flicage #crypto-monnaie #monnaie_numérique #confiance

  • China’s Cryptocurrency Plan Has a Powerful Partner: Big Brother - The New York Times

    BEIJING — When Facebook announced plans this year for a cryptocurrency called Libra, it said its goal was to reinvent money for the internet age. What the company probably didn’t imagine was that its efforts might spur China to get there first.

    China wants to start replacing the cash that people carry with a digital currency soon, a long-discussed project that went into overdrive after Libra was unveiled in June. Facebook has been fighting to defend its initiative against skeptical regulators, and key corporate partners have pulled out of the project. But Beijing’s ambitions appear to be moving ahead at full speed.

    The system emerging in China looks very different from Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies that enthusiasts have championed as tools of emancipation from big banks and governments.

    A state-issued e-currency would help China’s government know more — much, much more — about how its citizens spend their money, giving it sweeping new powers to fight crime and manage the economy while also raising privacy concerns.
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    “It’s extraordinary power and visibility into the financial system, more than any central bank has today,” said Martin Chorzempa, a research fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington.

    Not even half a year has passed since Facebook unveiled Libra, but the tech giant’s foray into finance has been met with a steady stream of doubts and questions.

    The Federal Reserve says it has “serious concerns.” European officials have threatened to block the project from moving ahead on the Continent. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, is set to appear on Capitol Hill next week to discuss the plans.

    For Beijing, Libra has provided another urgent motive for digitizing the currency. China blocks Facebook’s platforms within its borders, but Chinese leaders see in Libra the potential start of a new world financial system, one that could bulldoze the traditional authority of governments and central banks — China’s included.

    “If Libra is accepted by everyone and becomes a widely used payment tool, then after some time, it is entirely possible that it will develop into a global, super-sovereign currency,” Mu Changchun, a top official at China’s central bank, said in a recent online lecture. “We need to plan ahead to protect our monetary sovereignty.”

    Facebook says Calibra, its digital wallet for holding and spending Libra, will require ID verification, and the company is vowing to use your financial data responsibly. It says it will not, for instance, take note of your pain reliever purchases to push Instagram ads for clinics.

    China has suggested that it, too, will keep spending information away from marketers — but not from the authorities. The banks and electronic payment companies that will distribute the new digital currency already require users to authenticate their names and identities. And officials have made clear that the central bank will be able to view data on transactions.

    Chinese consumers have for years paid for everything with their phones, and the country’s two dominant mobile payment services, Alipay and WeChat Pay, have become pillars of the Chinese economy. Alipay says it has processed as many as 256,000 payments per second. By comparison, Visa says it can handle 65,000. Libra is promising to do 1,000, at least at the start.

    But many transactions on the Chinese platforms move exclusively between digital wallets, never making contact with the state-dominated banking system. That means the Chinese government has to go through the platforms’ privately owned parent companies, Ant Financial and Tencent, if it wants to track and scrutinize those movements.

    Not so with the new e-currency.

    #Monnaie_numérique #Libra #Chine #Surveillance

  • Les androids rêvent d’une monnaie électrique | www.nouveau-magazine-litteraire.com

    Pour un groupe de transhumanistes, accéder à la vie éternelle demandait d’abord la création d’une nouvelle monnaie. Finn Brunton raconte cette histoire digne d’un roman de science-fiction dans Digital Cash, paru en juin chez Princeton University Press.

    Par Sandrine Samii.

    Créer une nouvelle monnaie n’est pas qu’un projet technique ou économique, mais une nouvelle proposition sociale, un pari pour l’avenir. « L’histoire de la monnaie numérique [nous montre] un exemple particulièrement vivide de l’utilisation de l’argent et des nouvelles technologies pour raconter des histoires sur le futur », raconte Finn Brunton, professeur au département Médias, Culture et Communication de l’université de New York. Dans Digital Cash, il explore plusieurs projets de cryptomonnaies, des monnaies entièrement numériques, jusqu’à la concrétisation de l’un d’entre eux : Bitcoin.

    Bitcoin et la blockchain sont le résultat de décennies de recherches sur la cryptographie, les réseaux peer-to-peer, la signature et l’horodatage de fichiers numériques. Au début de cette chaîne, on trouve le mouvement cypherpunk – des informaticiens et des mathématiciens intéressés par le développement de mécanismes informatiques de cryptographie. Ses participants forment un groupe hétérogène, aux objectifs variés : protéger leurs informations personnelles, garantir la confidentialité des échanges, échapper au contrôle que de grandes entreprises ou des États voudraient exercer sur le Web.

    À lire : Digital Cash. The Unknown History of the Anarchists, Utopians, and Technologists Who Created Cryptocurrency, Finn Brunton, Princeton University Press, 272p., 26,95 $

    Et l’interview de Finn Brunton

    On parle beaucoup de l’impact d’Ayn Rand dans la Silicon Valley, mais dans Digital Cash vous mentionnez un grand nombre d’histoires et d’auteurs de science-fiction. Quelle influence a eu la sci-fi sur les Extropiens ?

    Finn Brunton : La philosophie et le mouvement des Extropiens sont en partie construits sur une sensibilité pour la science-fiction – et spécifiquement la science-fiction américaine optimiste, couvrant toute la galaxie, très individuelle, axée sur la technologie et les gadgets – du cercle d’auteurs de John W. Campbell : pensez Heilein, Asimov et van Gogt, pas Lem, Ballard, Le Guin ou les frères Strugatsky. C’est l’habilité d’une personne rationnelle, forte, le « competent man » avec les bons outils et le bon équipement, à transcender toutes les limitations humaines, de la mortalité, de la société, du temps et de l’espace. À cela, ils ont ajouté un thème cyberpunk sur les technologies numériques et d’identité – notamment avec le classique de Vernor Vinge, True Name (1), qui a aussi beaucoup influencé les activistes de la cryptographie, ou cypherpunks. Entre True Names et son essai sur le concept de la Singularité, l’importance de l’influence de Vinge a vraiment été très sous-estimée.

    Que pensez-vous du projet de Facebook de créer une forme de cryptomonnaie avec Libra ?

    F. B. : C’est à la fois une brillante stratégie de création de revenus pour l’entreprise, et une initiative terrible – l’aveu que l’objectif à long terme est de contrôler les transactions, les frais, les intérêts, les marges, les données en plus des publicités qui entraînent ces transactions. Cela reflète l’urgence qu’il y a de créer de meilleures banques, particulièrement pour ceux qui n’en ont pas actuellement, puisque l’alternative est maintenant la réapparition des monnaies d’entreprises.

    #Finn_Brunton #Monnaie_numérique #Extropiens #Transhumanisme

  • La libra, une fausse bonne affaire pour l’usager ? | L’Echo

    Le citoyen ordinaire, aux anges d’échanger de manière indolore et quasi gratuitement des libras dans la vie quotidienne, sera-t-il alors ravi d’apprendre qu’il subsidie par ses impôts en hausse les plus grosses entreprises du monde, les membres bienveillants de Calibra, gérant une merveilleuse monnaie privée en vue d’assurer à ses investisseurs comme il se doit, le rendement maximal ?

    Par Paul jorion
    Économiste et anthropologue

    Depuis le 17 juin nul n’ignore que Facebook, à la tête de Calibra, un consortium de très grosses entreprises où l’on trouve aussi Visa et Mastercard, s’apprête à battre monnaie. Si la libra voit le jour, il s’agira du premier cas d’une authentique monnaie privée, sans comparaison possible avec les simples « jetons commercialisables » que sont le bitcoin ou l’ether, abusivement qualifiés de crypto-monnaies.

    La libra serait en effet adossée à valeur égale à un panier de monnaies nationales garanties chacune par la richesse économique d’une véritable nation.
    « Un bras de fer serait engagé entre Calibra et l’archipel des banques centrales qui chercheraient certainement à maintenir au nom de la nation leur privilège d’émettrice de monnaie. »

    si Calibra devait adosser en quantité égale toute libra émise à des instruments de dette émis par de grandes nations, ce serait immanquablement elle (pensons aux 2,4 milliards d’usagers de Facebook) qui deviendrait le premier financier, le premier prêteur au monde des États, et ferait la pluie et le beau temps sur le marché obligataire international, déterminant selon son bon vouloir le niveau de coupon que les États consentiraient, autrement dit les taux d’intérêt dont ils devraient s’acquitter. Or qui verse de fait le coupon aux investisseurs sur le marché obligataire, si ce n’est le contribuable des nations emprunteuses ?

    Le citoyen ordinaire, aux anges d’échanger de manière indolore et quasi gratuitement des libras dans la vie quotidienne, sera-t-il alors ravi d’apprendre qu’il subsidie par ses impôts en hausse les plus grosses entreprises du monde, les membres bienveillants de Calibra, gérant une merveilleuse monnaie privée en vue d’assurer à ses investisseurs comme il se doit, le rendement maximal ?

    #Libra #Facebook #Monnaie_numérique

  • Regard éco : De l’effet « libra » - Signatures - tdg.ch

    Le projet « libra » – nom de la future unité globale – décoiffe parce qu’il ne cache pas son ambition de braconner dans toutes les chasses gardées du système monétaro-financier global. Même si le document parle de « devise » (monnaie étrangère) et non de monnaie, l’ambition du libra est bien de devenir une unité de paiement concurrentielle aux monnaies nationales sur leurs territoires respectifs. Le monopole de l’émission monétaire de la Banque centrale est donc mis en cause.

    Même s’il n’est pas attaqué frontalement, il est néanmoins menacé dans son fondement, et potentiellement – à terme – renvoyé au magasin des accessoires. Sans utiliser le terme, le libra se présente comme la monnaie supranationale foncièrement anarchique, affranchie de toute emprise d’un ordre monétaire hiérarchique. Pourtant – et ce n’est pas le seul paradoxe du projet – c’est sur les marges de liberté (ou fissures) de cet ordre que le libra prend appui pour le défier.

    Le libra entend également braconner sur les terres des intermédiaires, notamment des transferts internationaux, plus particulièrement des microtransferts des migrants vers les pays d’origine, dont les tarifs usuraires sont dénoncés depuis longtemps par les organisations de développement, et depuis une dizaine d’années aussi par la Banque mondiale. Libra annonce des tarifs insignifiants qui tranchent avec des commissions qui dépassent aujourd’hui souvent les 10%.

    Le Libra se rapproche en fait du paiement entre mobile utilisé en Chine par Tencent et Alipay... la surveillance n’étant plus celle de l’Etat sur les transactions, mais celle de Facebook et ses partenaires. Une question de confiance ?

    Du fait des choix technologiques (blockchain), le libra promet de conjuguer la facilité de paiement d’une carte de crédit, avec les commissions minimales, et l’effacement de l’intermédiaire gestionnaire du compte, puisque le paiement se ferait directement de l’acheteur au vendeur. Finalement, le libra se présente comme une réserve de valeur ou de pouvoir d’achat, dont la valeur serait pleinement couverte par des réserves constituées par un panier des actifs financiers peu risqués diversifiés au niveau global. Ainsi, la valeur de l’unité ne serait que marginalement exposée aux risques de crises monétaires ou financières locales.

    #Libra #Surveillance #Facebook #Monnaie_numérique

  • Libra de Facebook : « Ce projet est très malsain et doit être combattu »

    Interview d’André Orléan

    L’ambition du Libra est bien plus vaste puisqu’il s’agit de promouvoir une monnaie véritable, destinée aux échanges de marchandises et de services, pour toute la planète.

    Bien que sans précédent, cet événement n’est en rien une surprise car l’expérience du bitcoin est passée par là. Elle nous a appris qu’il est désormais possible de concevoir une monnaie internationale, indépendante des États. Néanmoins, en raison de son instabilité chronique, le bitcoin a échoué à devenir un intermédiaire des échanges efficace. Il n’a pas réussi à instituer un espace stable et profond de transactions marchandes. De fait aujourd’hui, cette cryptomonnaie est bien plus un actif spéculatif qu’une véritable monnaie. Cependant, on ne pouvait douter que de nouvelles propositions viendraient, tirant les conséquences de l’expérience bitcoin. Parmi elles, l’idée d’une monnaie adossée à un géant de la Toile s’imposait comme la plus sérieuse dans la mesure où elle associe les trois forces qui sont au cœur du capitalisme d’aujourd’hui : outre la puissance du capital, la puissance de la technique et la puissance des réseaux. Telle est la signification du projet Libra : concevoir la nouvelle architecture institutionnelle qu’appellent les modalités présentes de la production capitaliste. Pour mesurer la vigueur du défi qui est ici lancé au vieux monde néolibéral, observons que, dès à présent, Facebook à lui seul compte 2,4 milliards d’utilisateurs mensuels, ce qui représente 30% de la population mondiale, auxquels il convient d’ajouter les utilisateurs des autres sociétés participant au groupement Libra comme Uber, Visa, Booking.com, eBay, Spotify ou Paypal. Malgré cette énorme puissance de feu, n’oublions cependant pas l’ampleur des obstacles qui rendent ce projet des plus incertains.

    C’est cela qui est déterminant : chercher à constituer un écosystème d’activités économiques intégrées par le fait qu’elles partagent une même monnaie. N’est-ce pas précisément ce qui est recherché par Facebook et ses partenaires ? Par exemple, inciter à utiliser un transport Uber pour aller en vacances avec Booking.com et écouter de la musique avec Spotify en faisant valoir que tous ces services sont libellés en libras et disponibles aisément sur son téléphone portable. Plus généralement, faire du libra le moyen de paiement de référence sur un maximum d’applications. On peut même aller plus loin et considérer qu’à terme les sociétés participant au projet Libra encourageront leurs milliers d’employés à voir leur salaire payé en libras. Si cette dynamique est conduite à son terme, on verra alors se constituer une vaste économie déterritorialisée, libellée en Libra, qui viendra de facto défier les espaces Dollar, Euro ou Yen.

    Comme je l’indiquais, les forces qui sont à l’œuvre pour faire advenir le projet Libra ne sauraient être sous-estimées. Elles plongent leurs racines au cœur de notre modernité. Face à elles, quels arguments peuvent faire valoir les monnaies étatiques pour justifier le maintien de leurs prérogatives ? Pour le dire brutalement, deux manières de concevoir la solidarité avec autrui s’affrontent : via les réseaux sociaux et le smartphone versus via la nation.

    #Libra #Monnaie_numérique #Facebook

  • Le libra de Facebook, une monnaie au service de groupes privés | Mediapart

    Super article, basé sur des faits (la lecture du livre blanc de lancement du Libra), et qui dégonfle pas mal de baudruches. Peut être un peu trop optimiste, car négligeant les désirs politiques de Zuckerberg...

    Facebook va-t-il créer une monnaie mondiale ? Depuis l’annonce par le géant du numérique du lancement, prévu en 2020, d’une « cryptomonnaie », les fantasmes et les titres ronflants se succèdent. Mais le détail de ce lancement, rendu public le 18 juin sous forme d’un « livre blanc », ramène ce projet dans des limites plus raisonnables. Le « libra », cette nouvelle cryptomonnaie, n’aura guère les moyens de concurrencer le système monétaire international sur lequel, du reste, elle entend se fonder.

    La première est que la blockchain sera fermée. Il faudra disposer d’une permission pour y avoir accès : ce sera donc un protocole privé et non un système ouvert à tous comme l’est le bitcoin. Au lieu d’être fondé sur la collaboration de tous les participants à la blockchain, ce protocole sera centralisé par l’association Libra, qui gérera cette monnaie depuis Genève et sera constituée des partenaires de Facebook (aujourd’hui 28 entreprises dont Iliad, Uber, PayPal, Visa, MasterCard, eBay ou encore Spotify).

    Le « livre blanc » prétend vouloir passer, lorsque la technologie sera au point, à une blockchain ouverte. Le système ouvert est en effet plus lent, il nécessite une validation collective qui prend du temps. Une transaction avec le bitcoin prend environ une dizaine de minutes aujourd’hui (ce temps a déjà été fortement réduit ces dernières années). Or le libra se veut un instrument de paiement avant tout : les transactions doivent donc être instantanées.

    La deuxième différence concerne la valeur. La valeur du bitcoin ne repose sur rien d’autre que sur la confiance dans son algorithme. Celle du libra ne sera pas fixée par un « marché du libra », mais par un panier de devises dont la structure n’est pas précisée, mais qui devrait a minima comporter l’euro, le dollar des États-Unis, la livre sterling, le yen japonais et peut-être le renminbi (ou yuan) chinois. L’association Libra fixera la pondération de chaque monnaie dans ce panier et fixera ainsi la valeur du libra par rapport aux autres devises.

    C’est une méthode utilisée par exemple par le FMI pour établir la valeur de ses droits de tirage spéciaux (DTS), son unité de compte, mais aussi par la Banque centrale chinoise pour fixer le cours du yuan. La valeur du libra ne sera donc pas « fixe », mais elle évoluera en fonction des taux de change des devises du panier. La promesse de l’association est que, en choisissant des devises stables, la valeur du libra ne devrait évoluer qu’à la marge.

    Au-delà de l’aspect technique, le régime monétaire du libra est, donc, in fine, très archaïque. C’est celui de l’étalon monétaire appliqué à un panier de devises, où une banque centrale disposait de réserves exactement équivalentes à ses créances monétaires. Le libra est donc l’équivalent d’une pièce de 20 francs-or de jadis : on savait qu’il y avait dans cette pièce 5,801 grammes d’or fin. Et lorsque l’on disposait d’un billet de cent francs, on pouvait aller l’échanger aux guichets de la Banque de France contre 5 pièces de 20 francs disposant de ce poids d’or.

    Ici, l’association libra promet qu’un libra aura une valeur donnée en dollars ou en euros et qu’à tout moment, on pourra l’échanger contre sa contre-valeur parce qu’elle dispose dans ses réserves du montant exact de ses créances en libras.

    À quoi servira le libra ?

    C’est un système extrêmement sûr, mais bien peu utile dans un régime économique où l’on doit investir dans l’avenir, prendre des risques et faire face à des besoins qui croissent plus vite que l’activité économique. C’est le revers de l’absence de spéculation : il n’y a pas non plus de vraie capacité d’investissement. La lecture du livre blanc montre que l’association cherche surtout à faire du libra une réserve de valeur, ce qui en réalité traduit un biais commercial.

    En faisant du libra un instrument de portage d’actifs liquide et relativement stable, l’association veut favoriser certains usages qui correspondent à l’intérêt des membres les plus puissants de l’association : le transfert de fonds à bon marché, le portefeuille électronique et, in fine, la consommation de biens et services proposés par les partenaires du système. On comprend pourquoi Facebook a attiré des entreprises commerciales dont beaucoup sont spécialisées dans les systèmes de paiement (Visa, MasterCard, Stripe, PayPal ou Lyft).

    Des promesses qui n’engagent que ceux qui y croient

    Facebook, non, a répondu Mark Zuckerberg dans un message publié ce mardi : « Chaque information partagée avec Calibra [la filiale dédiée au libra – ndlr] sera conservée séparément des informations que vous partagez sur Facebook. »

    Ou encore : « À l’exception de cas limités, Calibra ne partagera pas les informations de compte ou les données financières avec Facebook ou toute autre tierce partie sans votre consentement », affirme un communiqué. « Les infos [recueillies par Calibra – ndlr] ne seront pas utilisées pour le ciblage publicitaire sur Facebook », réaffirme à Mediapart un responsable de la communication de la compagnie pour l’Europe.

    Pour David Marcus, ancien dirigeant de PayPal qui supervise le projet pour Facebook et s’est s’exprimé sur Twitter, « une des raisons de créer Calibra est d’avoir une entité dédiée et régulée, qui s’engagera fermement à protéger la vie privée de ses clients, car nous avons entendu haut et fort que vous ne vouliez pas que les données sociales et financières soient mélangées ».

    Cette collecte et sa monétisation sont au cœur du savoir-faire de Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram… On imagine mal que sa nouvelle filiale soit durablement privée de ces talents. Olena Havrylchyk, professeure d’économie à l’université Paris I-Panthéon Sorbonne, s’interroge : « L’histoire a montré que le modèle économique de Facebook avait déjà changé dans le passé, passant de la protection de la vie privée (lorsque Facebook n’avait pas de parts de marché) à la surveillance (après, devenu un monopole). Peut-on s’attendre à une évolution similaire dans le modèle de Libra ? »

    Facebook ayant préempté toute la communication sur le projet, sans compter son architecture technique, on ignore quel usage les autres membres de l’association feront des données récoltées. Uber pourra-t-il adresser des publicités spécifiques à ses clients utilisateurs de libra ? À leurs amis ? Des ristournes ? Visa et MasterCard pourront-ils collecter des données que jusque-là ils ne possèdent pas, comme les relations des détenteurs de cartes de crédit ?

    Que pourront faire exactement les utilisateurs ? Plafond de dépenses, de rechargement en libras, d’envoi d’argent : on n’en sait rien à ce stade. Quiconque a utilisé PayPal ou d’autres moyens de transfert d’argent sait qu’il ne suffit pas d’avoir un compte créditeur pour que ça passe.

    Le problème du libra n’est pas réellement le fait qu’une entreprise privée crée une monnaie, puisqu’il n’y aura pratiquement aucune autonomie de création monétaire. Il est d’ailleurs piquant, de ce point de vue, de voir beaucoup d’observateurs prétendre que Facebook, avec sa monnaie privée, viendrait sur le terrain d’une prérogative des États. C’est doublement faux.

    D’abord parce que Facebook ne va pas vraiment « battre monnaie », puisque chaque libra sera couvert par le montant équivalent en devises émises par les banques centrales.

    Ensuite parce que le système actuel est déjà un système de création monétaire privée. Ce sont les banques commerciales qui aujourd’hui, dans les contraintes fixées par la Banque centrale tant sur le plan monétaire (le niveau des taux) que sur celui de la régulation (les ratios de solvabilité et le montant des réserves obligatoires), émettent l’essentiel de la monnaie en circulation par la distribution de crédits. Lorsqu’une banque émet un crédit, elle n’a pas cet argent dans un coffre, comme le libra devra l’avoir : elle crée la monnaie ex nihilo.

    #Facebook #Libra #Monnaie_numérique #Cryptomonnaie #Economie_monétaire

  • Quand Facebook devient un État | L’Echo

    Un bon papier qui soulève des questions... et interroge des gens connus de nos services : Ah ces prophètes, toujours les mêmes qui seront démentis dans quelques années, comme d’habitude :

    Certains n’ont pas hésité à parler de révolution, comme l’économiste Bruno Colmant, qui a réagi sur Twitter : « La création du libra, la monnaie de Facebook, est l’événement monétaire d’un demi-siècle après la fin de l’étalon-or décidé par les USA. C’est même la plus grande révolution depuis l’invention de la monnaie papier : une monnaie universelle, privée et digitale ! Facebook devient un État. Le libra est une véritable révolution monétaire et socio-politique. »

    « L’arrivée de nouvelles monnaies met à jour l’archaïsme des banques, nous dit pour sa part Laurent Alexandre, spécialiste des nouvelles technologies et de l’intelligence artificielle. Les banques se sont endormies. Il faut penser le rôle de la banque de demain. Et la question majeure est celle de la cybersécurité. Il faudra sortir des dizaines de milliards : on voit mal BNP ou ING le faire. Or, les Gafa sont capables de faire de la cybersécurité. »

    Le libertarisme (voir l’encadré) hante en effet les Gafa. Pour le comprendre, il faut se replacer dans le contexte des années 60. Dans son ouvrage, « Aux sources de l’utopie numérique. De la contre-culture à la cyberculture », Fred Turner a remarquablement montré comment les communautés hippies de l’époque, faute de pouvoir réaliser leurs utopies, vont progressivement, dans les années qui suivent, se réincarner à travers la constitution de communautés alternatives par le biais de la cybernétique. Une rencontre étonnante a ainsi eu lieu entre illuminés notoires, artistes, hackers, scientifiques et activistes de gauche. Cette collusion a forgé le système de pensée dans lequel évoluent aujourd’hui les représentants de la Silicon Valley. Un personnage clé comme Stewart Brand a formulé la perspective générale du mouvement : libérer l’individu en créant des réseaux qui permettent d’améliorer la vie de ceux qui y participent, sur la base d’un système autorégulé, sans l’aide de l’État. Mais cette idéologie libertaire, plutôt de gauche à la base, va entrer progressivement en lien avec un libertarisme de droite, c’est-à-dire un hyperlibéralisme : « Le libertarisme vise à tout transformer en marchandise, en objet échangeable sur un marché, précise Guillaume Vuillemey. Dès qu’un nouveau marché planétaire se crée, c’est un succès du libertarisme. » En mettant à mal nos libertés, Facebook semble néanmoins s’éloigner de toutes les formes de libertarisme : « Facebook n’est pas un rêve libertaire, estime Louis Larue, chercheur à la chaire Hoover de l’UCL. Le libertaire veut la libre concurrence, alors que Facebook fonctionne comme un monopole. C’est l’enfer des libertaires. Tout est centralisé. À mon sens, c’est une entreprise capitaliste classique qui a simplement plusieurs domaines d’activité. »

    #Facebook #Libra #Monnaie_numérique #Cryptomonnaie

  • Facebook’s Libra: Three things we don’t know about the digital currency - MIT Technology Review

    If it’s not the most high-profile cryptocurrency-related event ever, Facebook’s launch of a test network for its new digital currency, called Libra coin, has been the most hyped. It is also polarizing among cryptocurrency enthusiasts. Some think it’s good for the crypto industry; others dislike the fact that a big tech company appears to be co-opting a technology that was supposed to help people avoid big tech companies. Still others say it’s not even a real cryptocurrency.

    Libra’s network won’t work that way. Instead, running a “validator node” requires permission. To begin with, Facebook has signed up dozens of firms—including Mastercard, Visa, PayPal, Uber, Lyft, Vodafone, Spotify, eBay, and popular Argentine e-commerce company MercadoLibre—to participate in the network that will validate transactions. Each of these “founding members” has invested around $10 million in the project.

    That obviously runs counter to the pro-decentralization ideology popular among cryptocurrency enthusiasts.

    Today’s public blockchains use too much energy and process transactions too slowly to elicit mainstream demand. This is probably the biggest obstacle to adoption of cryptocurrencies. It’s why Facebook chose not to use proof of work, the process that Bitcoin uses to reach agreement among the blockchain network’s nodes, citing its “poor performance and high energy (and environmental) costs.”

    If the high-powered roster of financial firms and technology companies beat Ethereum to the punch on proof of stake, it would be ironic: public blockchains are supposed to disrupt Big Tech, not the other way around.

    On top of all that, how serious is Facebook is about achieving decentralization and becoming a “real” cryptocurrency? Perhaps the fact it has made a big song and dance about being decentralized is simply a way of offsetting the firm’s appalling record on data privacy. But will users demand that the currency be more decentralized—or will many simply not care?

    #Crypto_monnaie #Monnaie_numérique #Libra #Facebook

  • Draft bill proposes 10-year prison term for dealing in cryptocurrency - Business News


    A draft bill has proposed 10-year jail term for people dealing in cryptocurrencies in India
    Besides making it completely illegal, the bill makes holding of cryptos a non-bailable offence
    A cryptocurrency is a virtual currency that uses cryptography for security and is generally based on blockchain technology

    Holding, selling or dealing in cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin could soon land you in jail for 10 years.

    The “Banning of Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill 2019” draft has proposed 10-year prison sentence for persons who "mine, generate, hold, sell, transfer, dispose, issue or deal in cryptocurrencies.

    Besides making it completely illegal, the bill makes holding of cryptos a non-bailable offence.

    A cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual currency that uses cryptography for security and is generally based on blockchain technology, a distributed ledger enforced by a disparate network of computers. Bitcoin is the most popular cryptocurrency in the world.

    Given the high chances of cryptocurrencies being misused for money laundering, various government bodies such as the Income Tax Department and the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) had endorsed banning of cryptocurrencies.

    The draft bill for banning cryptocurrency has been in the works for some time with Economic Affairs Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg leading the exercise.
    While strict law would soon be in place to deal with people indulging in trade of cryptocurrency, India is likely to have its own digital currency.

    “A decision on the launch of Digital Rupee would be taken after consulting the Reserve Bank of India (RBI),” said an official.

    #Monnaie_numérique #Cryptomonnaie #Bitcoin #Inde

  • Les néobanques tiennent-elles leurs promesses ?

    Le comparateur Meilleurebanque.com a passé au crible les procédures d’ouverture de comptes dans ces établissements accessibles avec un mobile

    Question : vers quelle bulle de la dette privée nous entraîne cette logique ?

    #Monnaie_numérique #Banque_en_ligne

  • La #Tchétchénie russe fait remodeler son #registre_foncier avec la blockchain - Sputnik France


    Alors que la #monnaie_numérique bitcoin fait du yoyo, le dirigeant de la République russe de Tchétchénie a fait part d’un projet de transfert du registre foncier local sur la blockchain, une technologie apparue avec le bitcoin.

    À Davos, la #Russie met la #blockchain à l’honneur
    Le département tchétchène du Service russe d’enregistrement d’État, du #cadastre et de la #cartographie (Rosreestr) sera installé sur la blockchain, a annoncé mardi #Ramzan_Kadyrov, dirigeant de la République de Tchétchénie.

    « Nous intégrons la blockchain dans notre registre républicain. Je ne peux pas préciser quand ce sera fait, mais le travail est en cours », a indiqué M.Kadyrov sur sa chaîne sur la messagerie cryptée Telegram.​

    ​Selon M.Kadyrov, l’intégration de la blockchain dans le registre foncier républicain a été confiée au vice-premier ministre tchétchène Iakoub Zakriev.

    « Le gouvernement tchétchène a créé un groupe de travail avec la banque VEB pour l’adoption de la blockchain », a précisé M.Kadyrov.

  • Bitcoin and Ethereum have a hidden power structure, and it’s just been revealed - MIT Technology Review

    Perhaps the most striking finding is that the process of verifying transactions and securing a blockchain ledger against attack, called mining, is not actually that decentralized in either system. Bitcoin and Ethereum are open blockchain systems, meaning that in principle anyone can be a miner (see “What Bitcoin Is, and Why It Matters”). But organizations have formed to pool mining resources. The researchers found that the top four Bitcoin-mining operations had more than 53 percent of the system’s average mining capacity, measured on a weekly basis. Mining for Ethereum was even more consolidated: three miners accounted for 61 percent of the system’s average weekly capacity.

    They also found that 56 percent of Bitcoin’s “nodes,” the computers around the world running its software (not all of them engage in mining), are located in data centers, versus 28 percent for Ethereum. That might indicate that Bitcoin is more corporatized, Gün Sirer says. Overall, the group concluded that neither network “has strictly better properties than the other.”

    Discussions of decentralization may seem esoteric, but anyone interested in the future of cryptocurrency should try to follow along. Part of the vision sold by the technology’s biggest promoters is that it can help solve problems of financial inequality created in part by traditional, centralized institutions. If digital currency allows wealth and power to pool in the hands of a few, that’s not so revolutionary.

    #Bitcoin #Etherum #Crypto_monnaies #Pouvoir #Monnaie_numérique

  • Does Bitcoin Have a Future? | Alternet

    Well, for one thing, as bitcoin usage has grown, the math problems computers must solve to make more bitcoin (the “mining”) have become more and more difficult—a wrinkle intended to control the currency’s supply. That’s good in the sense that limiting the supply helps to preserve the underlying value of the currency. The bad news is that “mining” for currency is almost as environmentally unfriendly as traditional mining, because of the high amounts of computing power required, which guzzle energy. You wouldn’t believe it, but bitcoin’s fatal flaw is an electricity problem. In fact, there is a “bitcoin energy index” that shows that each bitcoin transaction requires the same amount of energy used to power nine houses. There are many pejoratives one can ascribe to central bankers, but “environmental vandal” is usually not one of them.

    Of course, many of the libertarian champions of bitcoin and its ilk are in the climate change skeptics’ camp, so it’s unclear that this fact would bother them. It’s doubtful they would welcome “green initiatives” if it meant the end to their precious bull market in cryptocurrencies. But the truth is that the aggregate computing power required to sustain Bitcoin makes it, all by itself, unviable in the developing world, where electricity shortages are a fact of life. At the same time, what good is a currency if it creates a resource constraint that hinders global growth and prosperity? The appeal of most monetary instruments is that they avoid the inflexibility associated with the old gold standard or fixed exchange rate systems. This inflexibility prevented governments from introducing policies that generated the best outcomes for their domestic economies.

    some speculative bubbles, such as the railways, or the dotcom boom, do not have as malign an impact. When these kinds of manias exhaust themselves, at least society is left with innovations scattered across the landscape for our use. But bubbles that take root in the very credit system itself (such as the housing mess) leave behind a literal wasteland.

    It’s early days, but so far, bitcoin’s cataclysmic fall does not seem to be triggering any systemic concerns, which would suggest, thankfully, that it has not yet taken root in the credit system. But again, what’s to like? Anything that enables participants to exchange a legal tender dollar or some other real asset for a cryptocurrency, which has no intrinsic value or yield, is environmentally toxic, trades in cyberspace, outside of the regulated world of banks and financial payments is a recipe for fraud. And haven’t we had our fill of that for a while?

    #Bitcoin #Monnaie_numérique

  • In China, a Three-Digit Score Could Dictate Your Place in Society | WIRED

    In 2013, Ant Financial executives retreated to the mountains outside Hangzhou to discuss creating a slew of new products; one of them was Zhima Credit. The executives realized that they could use the data-collecting powers of Alipay to calculate a credit score based on an individual’s activities. “It was a very natural process,” says You Xi, a Chinese business reporter who detailed this pivotal meeting in a recent book, Ant Financial. “If you have payment data, you can assess the credit of a person.” And so the tech company began the process of creating a score that would be “credit for everything in your life,” as You explains it.

    Ant Financial wasn’t the only entity keen on using data to measure people’s worth. Coincidentally or not, in 2014 the Chinese government announced it was developing what it called a system of “social credit.” In 2014, the State Council, China’s governing cabinet, publicly called for the establishment of a nationwide tracking system to rate the reputations of individuals, businesses, and even government officials. The aim is for every Chinese citizen to be trailed by a file compiling data from public and private sources by 2020, and for those files to be searchable by fingerprints and other biometric characteristics. The State Council calls it a “credit system that covers the whole society.”

    For the Chinese Communist Party, social credit is an attempt at a softer, more invisible authoritarianism. The goal is to nudge people toward behaviors ranging from energy conservation to obedience to the Party. Samantha Hoffman, a consultant with the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London who is researching social credit, says that the government wants to preempt instability that might threaten the Party. “That’s why social credit ideally requires both coercive aspects and nicer aspects, like providing social services and solving real problems. It’s all under the same Orwellian umbrella.”

    The State Council has signaled that under the national social credit system people will be penalized for the crime of spreading online rumors, among other offenses, and that those deemed “seriously untrustworthy” can expect to receive substandard services. Ant Financial appears to be aiming for a society divided along moral lines as well. As Lucy Peng, the company’s chief executive, was quoted as saying in Ant Financial, Zhima Credit “will ensure that the bad people in society don’t have a place to go, while good people can move freely and without obstruction.”

    As Liu amassed a favorable transaction and payment history on Alipay, his score naturally improved. But it could go down if he neglected to pay a traffic fine, for example. And the privileges that come with a high score might someday be revoked for behaviors that have nothing to do with consumer etiquette. In June 2015, as 9.4 million Chinese teenagers took the grueling national college entrance examination, Hu Tao, the Zhima Credit general manager, told reporters that Ant Financial hoped to obtain a list of students who cheated, so that the fraud could become a blight on their Zhima Credit records. “There should be consequences for dishonest behavior,” she avowed. The good were moving without obstruction. A threat hung over the rest.

    The algorithm behind my Zhima Credit score is a corporate secret. Ant Financial officially lists five broad categories of information that feed into the score, but the company provides only the barest of details about how these ingredients are cooked together. Like any conventional credit scoring system, Zhima Credit monitors my spending history and whether I have repaid my loans. But elsewhere the algorithm veers into voodoo, or worse. A category called Connections considers the credit of my contacts in Alipay’s social network. Characteristics takes into consideration what kind of car I drive, where I work, and where I went to school. A category called Behavior, meanwhile, scrutinizes the nuances of my consumer life, zeroing in on actions that purportedly correlate with good credit. Shortly after Zhima Credit’s launch, the company’s technology director, Li Yingyun, told the Chinese magazine Caixin that spending behavior like buying diapers, say, could boost one’s score, while playing videogames for hours on end could lower it. Online speculation held that donating to charity, presumably through Alipay’s built-in donation service, was good. But I’m not sure whether the $3 I gave for feeding brown bear cubs qualifies me as a philanthropist or a cheapskate.

    Then, in 2010, Suining became one of the first areas in China to pilot a social credit system. Officials there began assessing residents on a range of criteria, including education level, online behavior, and how well they followed traffic laws. Each of Suining’s 1.1 million citizens older than 14 started out with 1,000 points, and points were added or deducted based on behavior. Taking care of elderly family members earned you 50 points. Helping the poor merited 10 points. Helping the poor in a way that was reported by the media: 15. A drunk driving conviction meant the loss of 50 points, as did bribing an official. After the points were tallied up, citizens were assigned grades of A, B, C, or D. Grade A citizens would be given priority for school admissions and employment, while D citizens would be denied licenses, permits, and access to some social services.

    Although Liu hadn’t signed up for Zhima Credit, the blacklist caught up with him in other ways. He became, effectively, a second-class citizen. He was banned from most forms of travel; he could only book the lowest classes of seat on the slowest trains. He could not buy certain consumer goods or stay at luxury hotels, and he was ineligible for large bank loans. Worse still, the blacklist was public. Liu had already spent a year in jail once before on charges of “fabricating and spreading rumors” after reporting on the shady dealings of a vice-mayor of Chong­qing. The memory of imprisonment left him stoic about this new, more invisible punishment. At least he was still with his wife and daughter.

    Still, Liu took to his blog to stir up sympathy and convince the judge to take him off the list. As of October he was still on it. “There is almost no oversight of the court executors” who maintain the blacklist, he told me. “There are many mistakes in implementation that go uncorrected.” If Liu had a Zhima Credit score, his troubles would have been compounded by other worries. The way Zhima Credit is designed, being blacklisted sends you on a rapid downward spiral. First your score drops. Then your friends hear you are on the blacklist and, fearful that their scores might be affected, quietly drop you as a contact. The algorithm notices, and your score plummets further.

    Now I had two tracking systems scoring me, on opposite sides of the globe. But these were only the scores that I knew about. Most Americans have dozens of scores, many of them drawn from behavioral and demographic metrics similar to those used by Zhima Credit, and most of them held by companies that give us no chance to opt out. Others we enter into voluntarily. The US government can’t legally compel me to participate in some massive data-driven social experiment, but I give up my data to private companies every day. I trust these corporations enough to participate in their vast scoring experiments. I post my thoughts and feelings on Facebook and leave long trails of purchases on Amazon and eBay. I rate others in Airbnb and Uber and care a little too much about how others rate me. There is not yet a great American super app, and the scores compiled by data brokers are mainly used to better target ads, not to exert social control. But through a process called identity resolution, data aggregators can use the clues I leave behind to merge my data from various sources.

    Do you take antidepressants? Frequently return clothes to retailers? Write your name in all caps when filling out online forms? Data brokers collect all of this information and more. As in China, you may even be penalized for who your friends are. In 2012, Facebook patented a method of credit assessment that could consider the credit scores of people in your network. The patent describes a tool that arrives at an average credit score for your friends and rejects a loan application if that average is below a certain minimum. The company has since revised its platform policies to prohibit outside lenders from using Facebook data to determine credit eligibility. The company could still decide to get into the credit business itself, though. (“We often seek patents for technology we never implement, and patents should not be taken as an indication of future plans,” a Facebook spokesperson said in response to questions about the credit patent.) “You could imagine a future where people are watching to see if their friends’ credit is dropping and then dropping their friends if that affects them,” says Frank Pasquale, a big-data expert at University of Maryland Carey School of Law. “That’s terrifying.”

    #Surveillance #Evaluation #Monnaie_numérique #Chine #Social_credits

  • Blockchains Use Massive Amounts of Energy—But There’s a Plan to Fix That - MIT Technology Review

    Bitcoin guzzles about as much electricity annually as all of Nigeria. Ethereum gulps electrons too, as do most other cryptocurrencies.

    Blockchains get a lot of love, but they are only shared sets of data. What brings cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum to life is the way all the computers in their networks agree, over and over, that what a blockchain says is true. To do this, they use an algorithm called a consensus mechanism. You’ve probably heard it called “mining.” (See: “What Bitcoin Is, and Why It Matters”)

    Cryptocurrency miners do much more than unlock new coins. In the process, they check the blockchain to make sure people aren’t spending coins fraudulently, and they add new lists of transactions—the blocks—to the chain. It’s the second step, meant to secure the blockchain from attacks, that guzzles electricity.

    Ultimately, the miners must transform each list of most recent transactions into a digital signature that can serve as proof that the information is true. All miners can do this, using a cryptographic tool that takes any input and spits out a string of seemingly random characters. But Bitcoin’s creator, Satoshi Nakamoto, made this part particularly difficult.

    This expends an immense amount of energy, signaling to the rest of the network that a miner’s accounting can be trusted.

    But while this particular method of reaching agreement—known as “proof of work”—is the most established, it isn’t the only one. A growing number of technologists are exploring different avenues, and some smaller cryptocurrencies already employ alternative means.

    The one in the best position to supplant proof of work is called “proof of stake.”

    #Monnaie_numérique #Bitcoin #Energie