Business

Noah Bradley

Facebook Libra finds ‘ray of immense hope’ amid despair

Facebook just lost several very important backers for its Libra stablecoin. PayPal, Visa, MasterCard, Stripe and others are out, with several dropping their support late last week. That certainly came as a blow to the social media giant, but there is a little bit of good news. Not all of the backers are changing their minds. That good news, however, is immediately countered by the fact that Facebook has now been found to have violated someone else’s trademarked logo when it created the Libra design. This is going to prove to be another example, according to regulators, of why the company is not ready to get into finance. 

BBC reporter Dave Lee says in a Twitter post that Anchorage, a cryptocurrency storage company, is still backing Libra. He points out a quote by the company’s co-founder and president, Diogo Monica, which reads, “Anchorage is dedicated to continuing the mission of the Libra Association and is proud to be a founding member.”

At about the same time that Lee was sharing his thoughts, CNBC reporter Sally Shin was filling in her Twitter followers with the news that Uber is staying on, as well—at least for now. She said in a tweet from Friday, “…Uber on the other hand [sic] says there is no change to its participation at this time.”

There had initially been 27 entities that would form the group of founding members of the Libra Association. However, that number has dwindled somewhat and could drop even more ahead of the official charter signing taking place this month.

Another bit of bad news for Facebook could expedite that departure, too. A lawsuit has been filed against Calibra, Libra’s accompanying wallet, for infringing on another entity’s trademark. According to the lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, Facebook directly copied the logo of FinTech company Current, which introduced its logo three years ago. 

Looking at the two logos side by side makes it easy to see why Facebook would be blasted for its actions. They are exactly identical in form—a circle with a squiggly wave in the center—and even use the same basic colors (Current added a few more hues to its design).

To be fair, Facebook could have an exit strategy to avoid having to pay out millions of dollars in infringement penalties. Both logos were created by the same branding company, San Francisco-based Character. However, the case stands out for two main reasons. First, Facebook has the money and resources to design a logo itself and, second, it has the money and resources to ensure that its actions don’t infringe on those of any other entity. This irresponsible approach to something as simple as branding will be used against it by regulators as they continue to fight against the eventual introduction of the Libra stablecoin.

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