Some members of the Libra Association are now backing a rival project called Celo, which has its own blockchain and cryptocurrency. Over 50 major companies have pledged their support, each pursuing a diverse set of use cases. The project claims that the combined reach of all members exceeds 400 million people.
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50 Founding Members
The Celo Foundation announced on Wednesday 50 founding members of the Celo Alliance for Prosperity. “Celo is an open platform that makes financial tools accessible to anyone with a mobile phone,” its website describes. The project offers a way for developers to build mobile apps based on Celo’s Ethereum-based blockchain with a stablecoin.
“The effort is designed to deliver humanitarian aid, facilitate payments and enable microlending through a cryptocurrency called the Celo Dollar, which is scheduled to launch in April,” Bloomberg reported. Chuck Kimble, who heads the Alliance for Prosperity, said in a phone interview with the publication:
The value of the Celo Dollar will be pegged to the U.S. dollar and backed by a reserve of other cryptocurrencies … It will be available in the U.S., but the alliance’s focus is on Latin America, Africa, and Southeast Asia.
Citing that “Today less than .5% of global citizens benefit from the speed, transparency, utility, and low cost of using blockchain technology,” the foundation detailed, “The Alliance members have a plan to change that and are committed to leveraging the power of Celo’s innovative blockchain technology to create solutions that work across devices, carriers, and countries.”
“Alliance members are pursuing a diverse set of use cases, including powering mobile and online work, enabling faster and affordable remittances, reducing the operational complexities of delivering humanitarian aid, facilitating payments, and enabling microlending,” the foundation’s announcement explains. “Their combined reach is over 400 million people.”
Competing With Facebook’s Libra
The project is dubbed by some as a rival to Facebook’s Libra project, which has been scrutinized by regulators worldwide since it was first announced. The Libra project is currently considering redesigning as several key members have left the project, including Paypal, Visa, Mastercard, Stripe, Mercado Pago, Ebay, and Vodafone.
Kimble claims that “There are some similarities [with Libra] in terms of mission, which is why there are some people who have joined both alliances.” Some Celo Alliance for Prosperity members that are also Libra supporters include Anchorage, Bison Trails Co., Coinbase Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz and Mercy Corps. However, the Celo project does not have the massive userbase that Facebook has.
Payments in the Celo Dollar stablecoin can be sent to people’s phone numbers rather than complicated addresses, Tech Crunch noted, asserting that “The goal is to make delivering utility via blockchain easier by building a flexible network of applications that doesn’t scare regulators like Libra has.”
Kimble claims, “We have met with governments around the globe as well as central banks, we are continually engaging with governments in the many countries which we hope to serve.” Diogo Monica, president of Anchorage, which is a part of both the Libra project and the Celo Alliance for Prosperity, said in a statement:
Celo and Libra each have unique focuses and approaches, but they share a goal that Anchorage strongly believes in: banking the unbanked.
What do you think of the Celo project? Do you think regulators worldwide will have a problem with it like they do Facebook’s cryptocurrency? Let us know in the comments section below.
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Images courtesy of Shutterstock and the Celo Foundation.
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