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Adam Minter

The Unbanked Don’t Need Facebook’s Money

In emerging markets, more local solutions are likely to hold their own against the social-media giant’s Libra currency. 

Mobile money started in Kenya over a decade ago. 

Mobile money started in Kenya over a decade ago. 

Photographer: Trevor Snapp/Bloomberg

Among Facebook Inc.’s justifications for introducing a new digital currency, Libra, the company has offered one pious rationale: to connect the 1.7 billion adults who lack bank accounts to the global financial system. That’s certainly one way for the “unbanked” to enjoy the convenience of digital money. Or they could just use a DeathAdder Elite.

The DeathAdder is, of course, a high-performance gaming mouse made by Razer Inc. The Singapore-based gaming company recently entered a partnership with Visa Inc. that will allow players to go to a convenience store and buy prepaid credits to load onto their mobile phones, which they can then use to buy goods not just within Razer games but in the real world, at tens of millions of merchants who accept Visa.