Kiplinger's Personal Finance
Cryptocurrency Libra Facebook Bitcoin Image Credit: Kiplinger's Personal Finance
Cryptocurrency Libra Facebook Bitcoin Image Credit: Kiplinger's Personal Finance

What's Up With Crypto?

The newest kid on the blockchain is Facebook’s Libra. But as an investment it’s likely to fall flat.

John Waggoner

Social media giant Facebook announced in June that it would launch Libra, a new cryptocurrency, in the first half of next year. Users will be able to buy things and send money to other people rapidly, anonymously and with fees of a fraction of a cent, and Facebook says it’s targeting the unbanked. So what is Libra? How is it different from other cryptocurrencies? And are there investment opportunities in this new virtual currency?

Spoiler alert: Libra is designed not to fluctuate much, so investing directly in the cryptocurrency probably won’t do much for you. It could face steep opposition in Congress and from governments around the world. Moreover, you shouldn’t invest in any cryptocurrency unless you’re prepared to lose your entire investment. And although there are some indirect ways to invest in the crypto boom, these, too, are highly speculative. Here’s what you need to know.

How is Libra different from Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is a virtual currency that has no central governing authority, such as a central bank. Users can buy and sell Bitcoins anonymously and use them to make untraceable purchases. Bitcoin uses blockchain technology— think of a decentralized ledger of transactions shared and maintained across a vast network of computers—that its advocates say makes counterfeiting impossible.

Like Bitcoin, Libra will use blockchain technology and allow users to be anonymous. That’s where

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