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What is Facebook Libra Cryptocurrency

26/June/2019

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced about their new cryptocurrency libra last week.  Along with this, they released the whitepaper and a prototype of their client software. Soon after,  the crypto world, as well as the whole internet, got flooded with the new innovation and related discussion. 


One can find tons of literary pieces already written on the privacy issues with Libra. Also in parallel, there are different discussions being carried in the financial as well as technological world regarding this.


Here I bring in an overview of libra blockchain ilimited words consolidating the whitepaper and 29-paged technical description. The blog primarily focuses on the technical aspects of Libra rather than the raised issues concerning its privacy. The topic is treated neutrally.


To start with, Libra blockchain is a permissioned open-sourced blockchain which is expected to get launched in the inception of 2020. The design promises its extensiveness to other programmable resources, not limiting to the cryptocurrency alone.


There will also be a crypto wallet called 'calibra' exclusively for libra coins which is yet to launch. Libra mainly comprises of three parts that promise to work together envisioning a more inclusive financial system:

1. Built on top of libra blockchain

2. Backed by Libra reserve

3. Governed by the Libra Association


Libra is a generic crypto asset protocol, and its first asset will be a stable coin called Libra. Libra is a global cryptocurrency built on top of libra blockchain.  The cryptocurrency comes fully backed with a collection of currencies and other forms of assets profoundly called Libra Reserve. This reserve moreover functions as collateral for every libra that is generated. Thus establishing trust in coin’s intrinsic value. 


a) Permissioned blockchain

The libra blockchain will be released as a permissioned blockchain. ie. only the members of Libra association are permissioned to participate in the blockchain. Libra Association performs more like an independent yet a not-for-profit membership organization. 


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From their white paper, it is ascertained that they will transform themselves into a permissionless system in 5 years. If that comes true, it will be the first blockchain to achieve such a transition.


b) Consensus protocol

The consensus protocol used in Libra is termed as libraBFT. Each member of the libra association acts as a leader in each turn, and validate transition in that turn.


c) Open source

The source code is available on their git repository under Apache-2.0 license.


d) Built in rust language


e) Logical data model

The logical data model is account based similar to ethereum, rather than the UTXO model of bitcoin.


f) Smart-contract

Libra introduces a new programming language for its smart-contract purposes - "move". This runs on the move virtual machine similar to ethereum.


g) Transaction cost

Similar to ethereum, the libra imposes a gas fee on libra coins for each transaction.


h) Minting of new coins

In Libra, only a few trusted members of the Libra Association can create new Libra coins.


i) Blockchain without blocks!

There will be no concept of blocks of transactions. Being a permissioned blockchain, the process of batching up transactions is not necessary.


Despite the contrast over the technical advancement libra will bring, or the casualties it gonna make to the existing blockchains, the technology is expected to make a footprint, introducing the blockchain technology to more common people.


You can expect more blogs based on Libra in coming days breaking down the new technology.


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