On Jan. 31, Meta, formerly known as Facebook, announced that it was pulling from its stablecoin project, Diem, formerly known as Libra. Intellectual property and other assets related to the operations of the Diem Payment Network were to be sold to Silvergate Capital Corporation, essentially meaning the end to Mark Zuckerberg and his corporations’ stablecoin aspirations, at least in their current shape. This also marks the end of a once-groundbreaking initiative that was revealed in 2019 with a promise to bring a global alternative to fiat money to Facebook’s 2-billion-strong user base. Here is how this plan went from the initial announcement to the shutdown.

Phase 1: The white paper

The news of Facebook launching its own digital currency came as a boost of optimism for the social media giant, whose brand in the late 2010s came to be associated with the lack of privacy and ethics, as well as disfunctional governance.

On June 18, 2019, the company released the white paper of its prospective global stablecoin under the name “Libra.” The prospective asset was to be backed by its own blockchain on the operational side and by a reserve of various assets (a basket of bank deposits and short-term government securities) on the financial level.

From the very beginning, Libra didn’t try to pretend to be a decentralized cryptocurrency — its governance mechanism was designed as a consortium (the “Libra Association”) including big-name companies such as Mastercard, PayPal, Visa, Stripe, eBay, Coinbase, Andreessen Horowitz, Uber and others. Facebook itself was…


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