If you were interested in the potential of Libra, Facebook’s new digital currency offering, but didn’t want to keep your funds all tied up with the social media giant, you’re in luck. ZenGo, an Israeli startup, have released the open source code for their own Libra non-custodial wallet.
This is the first known alternative to Calibra, the Facebook owned Libra wallet. What sets ZenGo apart from Calibra is that it’s non-custodial, and will not feature the overlords of Facebook supervising what individual users do with their money.
That’s a big selling point for ZengGo’s offering. They highlight very early on in their announcement that, unlike with Calibra which is expected to be regulated to the high heavens, ZenGo will not demand any Know Your Customer (KYC) checks, allowing users to remain mostly anonymous.
They also relieve the user of having to manage private keys by using a Threshold Signature Scheme (TSS), a key splitting technology. They explain:
By distributing the secret between the user’s device and the ZenGo server, ZenGo relieves users from the burden of managing their own private key while ensuring that the server cannot unilaterally spend the user’s money.
The wallet is far from done, lacking any type of user interface; however, they’ve already tried it out on the Libra testnet and it seems to work quite well.
The big question that comes to mind is if regulators turn a blind eye to it. With Russian hackers already a high concern in the U.S. Congress, and that’s just with the simple operation of Facebook, how will regulators look on an alternative wallet that reduces identification checks on users? How will the companies participating in Libra look on a wallet that ties them to potential crime?
And that’s just questions to ask before Libra launches. Once it does, how will an alternative wallet fare, when it needs to do its own advertising and promotion, when Facebook apps can simply put a link to Calibra on every page. It will be hard to compete with a company that regularly has the attention of nearly 2 billion people.
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