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Facebook Wants to Know If You’d Trust It With Your Money

The company’s new Libra cryptocurrency unveiled amid privacy concerns and regulatory pressure. 

Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer and founder of Facebook Inc.

Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer and founder of Facebook Inc.

Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

When Facebook Inc. recently unveiled Libra, its long-awaited cryptocurrency, the company used the announcement as a chance to convey just how much care has gone into the digital asset. David Marcus, the former PayPal Holdings Inc. president who’s the social network’s blockchain boss, said at a June 11 preview held under the vaulted ceilings of the old San Francisco Mint that libra was a unit of measure in ancient Rome and is the astrological symbol for balance and justice. “Freedom, justice, money,” Marcus said. “Basically everything we want this endeavor to become.”

Whatever the spin, once the currency becomes available in the first half of 2020, Facebook will collect more consumer data and dig deeper into its users’ digital lives. As it continues to apologize for the many ways it’s breached people’s trust, the company is asking users to take a huge leap of faith on Libra. “Are people going to feel safe using Facebook as their digital wallet?” asks Dave Heger, an analyst at Edward Jones Investments. “When you start talking about money and the potential loss of money, I would think a lot of people would be pretty skeptical just based on the recent history that the company has had.”