Digital Payments, Crypto, and Libra with Christian Catalini, Dante Disparte, and Matthew Davie

Digital Payments, Crypto, and Libra with Christian Catalini, Dante Disparte, and Matthew Davie

Recording Date: Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020

Christian Catalini is Chief Economist of the Libra Association, on leave from MIT, and a Faculty Research Fellow at NBER. Dante Disparte is vice chairman and Head of Policy and Communications at the Libra Association, and currently serves as an appointee on the FEMA National Advisory Counsel. Matthew Davie is the Chief Strategy Officer at Kiva, a non-profit organization dedicated to financial inclusion for the world’s most vulnerable populations, where he oversees corporate strategy, emerging tech development, and policy and regulatory engagements. He is also a board member of the Libra Association.

Sarah Oh: On this episode of Two Think Minimum, we are pleased to host three experts in digital payments from the Libra Association and Kiva, a non-profit organization dedicated to financial inclusion for the world’s most vulnerable populations. Christian Catalini is Chief Economist of the Libra Association, on leave from MIT and a faculty research fellow at NBER. Dante Disparte is Vice Chairman and Head of Policy and Communications at the Libra Association, and currently serves as an appointee on the FEMA National Advisory Council. Matthew Davie is a Chief Strategy Officer at Kiva where he oversees corporate strategy, emerging tech development, and policy and regulatory engagements. And he’s also a board member of the Libra Association. Thanks Christian, Dante and Matthew for coming on the program. It’s good to speak to you today. I thought I’d start with a somewhat challenging question, and then we can discuss other topics related to open payment systems and financial inclusion. Why don’t we use digital payments broadly today? What’s holding back innovation in payments?

Dante Disparte: Great question. I think part of what is making this broadening the base of innovation for payments and what I call breaking down the barriers of the walled gardens around the world, is one we have not yet had technologies that will allow us to scale the perimeter of payments and basic financial access, while at the same time, not sacrificing the type of security and protections we’ve come to expect of mature financial systems. There has been, up until now, a technological deficit. This is part of the reason why so many blockchain adherence and cryptocurrency adherence originally started as challengers to the traditional financial system, because it was all about democratizing access to payments, value, money, and these concepts that underpin that around self-sovereignty among others. I think that’s challenge one. Challenge two is of course in many respects, the world’s regulatory frameworks have failed to keep pace with enabling broad based innovation and enabling the types of coalitions that are now forming around building infrastructure that would support payments at scale and support cross-border use cases.

Dante Disparte: Those would be the two areas that I would identify as the inhibitors for why we haven’t yet seen much more innovation in this domain yet.

Christian Catalini: From an economics perspective, there’s the additional challenge that the current infrastructure is not truly interoperable. What do you see is a replication of siloed solutions that don’t typically transact with each other, and from a consumer and merchant experience that has led to less competition. One of the key goals of Libra is really to develop something that looks a lot more like an open technology standard, like those that we use every day on the internet. And that allows a number of different entities to work with each other under the same protocols and standards, and really lower switching costs and really the ability for anyone to transition, whether they’re a consumer or a merchant between different solutions over time, we hope that by lowering barriers to entry, we can also introduce more competition into services and eventually enable a range of new products and services that, you know, don’t exist today around payments, mostly because of the lack of competition.

Matthew Davie: Echoing everything that Dante and Christian just said that as you get down to the developing world and under-banked and un-banked populations, and especially in the developing world, you know, using digital payments there wasn’t digital access 10 years ago, and it’s coming very rapidly and penetrating the developing world. And one of the biggest things that’s left, is making it so it is possible, economically viable actually, for financial service providers to move down to these populations that in the developed world, it might be expensive. It might be cumbersome. It might be non-interoperable in the developing world. It is a losing proposition to try to open savings accounts for the way business is done now. So having an evolution of that, and Dante talked about the regulatory side a little bit. I know we’ll get into that more, but making it so it can be faster and cheaper and more secure to provide these services to the unbanked is what will allow digital. They’re just going to leapfrog analog banking to go straight to digital banking.

Scott Wallsten: In developing countries then is the issue that this overcomes bad institutions, existing bad institutions in developing countries? I mean, there are sort of are already, there is mobile banking and developing countries more so than here. How does this overcome whatever barriers they currently face?

Matthew Davie: I’ll continue since we’re going developing world here and kind of where I live, not physically, but with my work life. So, I wouldn’t call that institutions. You can always cherry pick and find individual institutions that are good, bad, or anywhere in between. I would say broadly, it’s really difficult. You know, micro finance institutions charge anywhere from 30 to 100% plus APR. And still many of them don’t survive because it’s not cost effective. The cost of doing business is very expensive because these tools and infrastructure and this competition is not there. So, I think creating an enabling environment that digital can bring where you can almost instantly have competition will put surprise to the floor, and the price won’t go to where it is in the developed world. It will still be more expensive to bank there, but again, to use the lending example for micro-finance institutions, digitization of that entire supply chain of money could possibly, we’ve run some analysis, we think could push those interest rates from 30 to 100% down to somewhere between 12 and 15%. And that’s a huge, you know, even going from 30 to 12%, that’s an over 50% decrease. And, you know, from 100%+ to 12 is, is life change. You can suddenly use those products for a lot more things, 100% APR product. You can’t use that to go to school. You can’t use that to buy a car. You can’t use that to buy a house.

Scott Wallsten: Will this take position from the groups that currently charge those high, those usurious rates?

Matthew Davie: If we can decrease their cost of doing business. Again, increase their margins. They can afford to compete and lower the price. I think new entrance, I think as digitization happens, I hope there are new entrance around the world in the developed and the developing world. I hope they all come with the regulatory compliance and the scrutiny we’re seeing going over innovation. I hope that innovation on the regulatory side continues to accelerate and move faster it’s necessary. But again, we could also then push all of that compliance and customer protection down into that market where it doesn’t exist broadly today.

Christian Catalini: If we start even from something as simple as a cross border remittance, it is true that, you know, when you look at prices and kind of market concentration on the outer end, those markups tend to be substantially higher where you don’t have competition where you do have exclusivity arrangements on the last mile. So one of the first things that Libra can do is enable more firms have access for local entrepreneurs, including startups and businesses that do want to interface with a global network of this type and allow for cheaper, more efficient and also safer on and off ramp. There’s often a belief that, you know, remittances are expensive because of AML, CFT compliance costs but generally, and this is another area where the technology can drastically improve. A lot of that is done. So with no compromise in the safety standards. And in fact, we believe that Libra over time will be not only meeting those standards, but exceeding them. What you can actually do is now allow for more choice, because one of the reasons why remittances are very expensive is that again, consumers on the receiving end often do not have a lot of choice unless they’re digitally savvy and maybe they’re using an online service or some other solution, you know, the kiosk or agent network is still one that is often tied to the old cost structures, even when it comes to mobile money. We see why it did originate in places where it has worked really well. In other areas? It has not. And this is an opportunity to fix that.

Sarah Oh: The digital payment stack, presumably a lot of the Visa network and credit cards and banking is digital right now. I mean, it’s shifted over from paper to databases. What makes an open protocol like Libra a step forward from what we have now?

Dante Disparte: I think there are a couple of areas of distinction. One of them Christian already mentioned before, which is a general lack of interoperability between even existing, highly efficient payment systems. So, I’m from Puerto Rico originally, and I have family on the Island and a basic transaction from continental United States to the Island of Puerto Rico, if you want it to arrive fast, it costs $30 for the money to arrive within a reasonable timeframe of a week. And part of the argument is that there’s lack of interoperability and how those types of banking systems might be speaking to each other. So even in an environment that would have an embarrassment of riches by, by comparative measures to the developing world, you still have a lack of interoperability between payment systems. And so I don’t see the Libra system as necessarily being directly competitive or disruptive to existing systems. If anything, I think part of what we’re trying to achieve is to extend the perimeter of payments by enabling a basic internet connected mobile device, to become a regulated payment endpoint. It upends the model, and it puts it on its head. Where most payment systems today, even companies that are part of the same holding company structure, they can’t make payments within one provider or another, but the Libra system as a user directed open payment standard is enabling people to have a common messaging platform for the exchange of value that’s user directed and peer directed. I think that’s one key breakthrough. The other key breakthrough is it’s an open source technology. At the long range, we also want to promote a lot of vigorous competition, business model innovation and use cases for this such that you could enable responsible financial services, innovation to also thrive on this type of system.

Scott Wallsten: One thing that you said that surprised me was it was difficult even to transfer money to Puerto Rico. And if you would expect there to be one place where there wouldn’t be many barriers or work or systems would work together between the mainland and Puerto Rico. And then I was thinking about what about platforms like Zelle? I don’t know how to pronounce it, and then sure enough, I Google it and it doesn’t work there. What is the reason for that? Why are these barriers? And then why would a platform like Libra be able to overcome them?

Dante Disparte: One of the barriers exist for a variety of complex evolutionary reasons. I wouldn’t want to sit here and explain that, you know, these things, aren’t just a function of how systems tend to ossify, right? That, you know, the banking system looks very much like the telephone and the mobile telephony systems 50 years ago, right? In that there’s very little optionality. And the only people who had access to the phone calls or reliable telephony were within reach of physical infrastructure. So I also think there’s a dimension there. That’s certainly not the case when it comes to Puerto Rico. I think part of it is just the presumption that the closer you get to the equator, and the further South you go from the equator, the higher risk you are generating, and therefore you have a higher cost of risk and de-risking. Sadly, the Caribbean basin, including the territory of Puerto Rico are plagued by these sort of arcane rules that have no place in the modern system. The inherent aspect of our design, the blockchain that we’re using as a public blockchain, the fact that the Libra Association will stand up a financial intelligence function and a compliance function and will abide by prevailing requirements around anti money laundering and the list of finance. And so on means that we’re able to say to the world, financial inclusion and compliance and risk management are not trade-offs. These three things can move in lock step. I know this is a big priority that Matthew and others have been thinking about. And now we have a technology stack at our hands that can facilitate that.

Matthew Davie: If I can just come on to add on that perceived risk, it’s, it’s a really interesting point. Kiva has globally a 97% repayment rate for unbanked customers. So customers outside the perimeter and of that, one of that 3% is actually institutional default, not consumer default. So the actual consumer default, they keep us 15 years and billion and a half Lundy and 92 countries to an under bank. Customers is better than us credit card debt just from a pure default rate basis. So this is a pure systemic perceived risk problem. Layered on top with it is much more difficult to serve these populations. And again, that’s what leads to when Dante talks about it. As you get close to the equator and going South, these problems get worse and worse and worse.

Sarah Oh: For anti-fraud or default risk – there are two kinds of risk? It’s first, people can’t pay back, honestly, and then the second is like there’s active fraud happening. My understanding of payments systems is that half or more of all the costs are about anti-fraud efforts. Is Libra Association or is the blockchain technologically able to overcome fraud?

Matthew Davie: I’ll come on. And I’m sure Christian and Dante have even more intelligent stuff to say, but, but also you could look at the recent, there was the exploit where there was some Twitter hacks and then Bitcoin started flowing around. And so here’s a Bitcoin that has no actual real identity behind it. The traceability of where those funds went, it was amazing how quickly and how fast firms were able to trace and map where the money went to try to put a box around it and catch it. And if that was something non-digital, if that had converted to cash or some other liquid physical asset, that was gone. I think when you add what Libra is trying to do in terms of bringing a permission network, bringing verifiable identity into the system, conforming with AML/KYC rules, that I would expect it to operate. And again, we’re still waiting for all the regulatory guidance, and this will be a jurisdiction by jurisdiction basis, how it’s rolled out. I would expect this to be able to be greatly superior to existing systems from a traceability of funds perspective. Maybe I’ll leave it to my colleagues that have much better detail on that.

Dante Disparte: The only thing I would add to Matthew’s excellent point is obviously we’re seeking, I think, permission to path, right? So Libra as a project is asking for permission rather than forgiveness, unlike, you know, many, many technology efforts in the past where you regulate ex post facto. We’re clearly trying to launch a payment system that is regulated, that abides by a range of different standards, but on the score of protecting the financial system, to Matthew’s point, blockchain based payment systems, even ones without the type of structure we’re putting in place, offer a lot of security when it comes to tracking and tracing capabilities that the counterpart of traditional Fiat currencies do not offer. That has to be a part of the design principle here to ensure, again, extending the perimeter of payments and being able to support these types of cross-border use cases is done in a manner consistent with existing regulations

Christian Catalini: I think that the upside and the potential of the technology in the long run is also the intersection of things that the public sector may care about. Going back to the recent COVID experience, I think a number of countries struggled with simple things like cash transfers. And so when you put that into kind of an international perspective challenges where, you know, in the U S people had to wait for multiple weeks for their checks to arrive the stimulus package, that’s problematic in emerging economies. And so, a network of this type could also enable simple things like that, where you can take advantage of the digital technology for something that enables a cash transfer at a lower cost with better compliance and in regions that are under served. So, these are all areas that we think have potential in the long run and lower to cost that really, you know, having a precise audit trail and delivering aid or other type of support at the right time in the right place.

Scott Wallsten: So, I started my career at the World Bank, and at the time I worked on competition and telecommunications competition, and that was when mobile companies were just beginning to set up. And of course, they’re all mostly indigenous local wireless companies. And, you know, some of what you said reminded me of that, but at the time, most of the big Western companies ignored much of the developing world because they thought what people at the World Bank thought. And there was just general thought that low income people there would just be no demand for mobile phones among them. And of course, that turned out to be just incredibly wrong. And that sounds similar to what you’re saying with the very low default rate in Kiva. But one of the things that helped mobile phones succeed as separate from the state-owned incumbents, was that everyone thought that there would be no demand. And so they just kind of allow these firms to enter, and the incumbents didn’t block them. But you’re taking a different path, and you’re telling everybody, “Hey, we’re coming.” Are you worried that everyone who has something to lose is going to try to stop you?

Matthew Davie: From the Kiva perspective for the developing world or bringing the technology and bringing the consumer protection and the regulatory compliance I would call it equally important. And so I’m very happy. And one of the reasons we’re very happy to do this long game with Libra and to go through with these regulators, asking permission, not asking for forgiveness later, is that the ability to bring that compliance, a lot of people think of it as a burden, but there’s a lot of benefits that those of us who think of it as a burden, don’t realize all the benefits of that consumer protection that comes with it. And so does it make it a longer term? Yes. Can it make it so that it seems like compliance and innovation are at odds? Yes, but they’re not. It’s just doing it this way will take longer and we’ll get it done more right. So that it’s better that we, in my opinion, reach vulnerable populations, but new products and services, we do it right. Not that we do it fast.

Sarah Oh: I have a money question about Libra. So, Libra is kind of a global open standard. How much of it will involve, you know, exchanging currencies? Is that something that happens at a certain point in the stack? I think part of the concern of regulators is, you know, there’s a reason why there are different silos in the financial system and it’s so complicated. How does it all fit into one step?

Christian Catalini: Yes. Let me take a, maybe a step back. So, you know, we laid out a vision where, you know, we see Libra eventually integrating with public sector efforts. Whether it’s wholesale, central bank, digital currencies, or synthetic CBDCs, but in general, we want to build a network that the public sector can interface with. And as these new assets become more digital, I mean, they’re already somewhat digital, but they’re definitely not programmable or interoperable across each other to the extent that, you know, you want to enable, for example, a cross border payment. And in many of these cases, the evolution is not one for Libra to keep operating a Libra reserve, maintaining, you know, the short term treasuries and cash to back this coins, but to operate and essentially link with the public sector. You know, what we want to enable is a vision that gives maximum flexibility for central banks around the world. And now they want the Libra Network to interoperate with their own routes, whether it’s upgrades to our TGS systems, or to any other existing payment infrastructure. And for that vision to be materialized, one step would be supporting more of the single currency, stable coins over time. Of course, that’s something that can only happen in collaboration with the public sector. And so the vision again, that we laid out is one where we are open to collaboration and to really identifying on the Libra side, what do we need to build so that this network can interface with the different types of arrangements that I think we’ll see emerge in different regions of the globe. We will be starting with a small subset of single currency stable coins. And in those markets, you can already envision a number of domestic use cases like payments to merchants and not your digital payments, kind of being supported on day one by where you do not have a single currency stable coin, then the domestic use cases, of course, are not going to be really relevant. And the main use of the natural will be for sending money cross border, whether it’s a remittance or some other type of payment. As you know, we have retained this concept of a multicurrency LBR, which is essentially, you know, similar to the SDR is essentially aggregating in fixed nominal weights, the constituent single currency, stable coins, mostly because we believe that could play a role in, in some of these cross border payments as although volatility neutral currency that can be used when sending money abroad, especially to a country that does not have a single currency stable code on the network yet. Now, of course, what needs to happen for that to be useful, is in those regions, there needs to be good cash-in and cash-out option so that, you know, the receiver can then convert that and spend on local goods and services. And so this is something that will take time. And I think as Matthew was mentioning before the costs will be higher at first, then over time, through competition and the integration of multiple players, those costs will come down. To your broader question about Libra and how it plays within the kind of micro-credential policy concerns division, again, is one to compliment an extended functional idea of fiat, not to compete with monetary policy. You know, there’s the remit of the public sector and under the new design, of course, you know, it’s important to remember that all the on and off frames, all the virtual asset service providers like wallets and exchanges operating in a region will have to comply with local rules. So insofar as their capital controls or any sort of foreign exchange controls restrictions, those would apply to the Libra network. Of course, you know, we hope to be a network that can support the good transfers like remittances without kind of interfering with, you know, concerns around currency, substitution and a the like. And that will require really working together with the public sector and identifying how do we design that interface between Libra and the local payment system so that we can still allow for the good inflows and reduce worries about, you know, capital outflows or the use of any one of the single currency stable coins, take, for example, the Libra dollar as a substitute for the local currency.

Scott Wallsten: When we first started hearing about Libra, it was connected very strongly with Facebook, but that doesn’t seem to be true anymore, right? I mean, Facebook now has Facebook financial instead. What happened and has that changed the direction of Libra?

Dante Disparte: I’m happy to start the answer there. And I think Matthew, as a board member of the association can also comment. I think one, Facebook is of course, is an important member, through its wallet provider Novi, of the association. The project that the technology was initially incubated at Facebook and over time, the goal of building a separate and independent institution that was a member driven institution of the Libra Association has been what we have been working towards since this was originally announced in June of 2019. Along the way, this has been really an interesting set of both public and private dialogues about the direction of travel on the types of monetary policy issues that Christian highlighted and the need for those to remain very much within the public domain, the opportunity for public-private collaboration, that we live in a world with 1.7 billion people, unbanked, and nearly an equal number who are under-banked. And yet among that set of issues, we have yet to form as a world, very serious coalitions who could start attacking that.

At the core of the Libra mission, is to really fundamentally build shared services, for lack of a better term, a digital commons, that could remove the barriers and the excuses that have precluded people from entering the financial system. And this is why we take great pride in the type of diversification in the Libra Association’s membership. You have social impact partners like Kiva and Women’s World Banking, and Mercy Corps among others. Heifer International was recently announced this year as a member. You have venture capital partners who are catalyzing investments in the ecosystem, and you obviously have downstream ambitions of potentially developing the future fin-techs that might be leveraging these types of systems. You have marketplace providers, and then you have wallet providers and others who are trying to normalize this ecosystem. Not only are we asking for permission, not only are we trying to build a very independent organization with a governance model that is enduring, we’re trying to build enduring technology, but we’re also trying to do it in as close to a harmonized way with public priorities. The very early narrative was mostly focused on the messenger Facebook as the messenger of bringing this project to the world, rather than the message, which is that we have some really intractable social problems and financial exclusion problems that we’re simply not doing nearly enough to address.

Matthew Davie: Dante said, basically everything I’ll tack on. Like when you say it doesn’t seem to be the case anymore, we announced it in June. It was incubated at Facebook in October. We actually formed the association in Geneva with 20 some-odd members. And at that point, Facebook only had one vote for Novi as one of the members as a general member and was elected, David was elected, as one of five board members. And so since that date, this has actually been operating and gaining its independence as it staffs out. As we get Christian on, as our chief economist, Dante has been on longer than that, which is great. As we staff it up, I think it becomes apparent to more that it’s independent, but the governance has been independent for almost a year now. And I do think you’ll see that over time that Facebook is a very important stakeholder, very important health, incubating this and helping bring all of the other stakeholders together, but this is truly a collaborative mission of all of us going out, trying to envision this future of FinTech, and how it can be more inclusive. And that’s why you can have folks like all the social impact partners on board is because of that alignment towards what this could actually provide downstream.

Christian Catalini: Building on that again for the project to succeed, you need many players on this same ecosystem. So, it’s got to be important to have multiple wallets to have multiple merchants or multiple payment service providers. Of course, you know, the social impact advisory board and NGO partners that are really playing the leading role of shaping up the financial inclusion lens of the association, all of these pieces have to come together. So that any entity that is not a member can look at the project and say, rather than creating my own siloed solution, I’d rather interoperate with it, and kind of join this broader ecosystem.

Scott Wallsten: A question that’s a little bit broader Christian, you’re an academic also. What’s the difference between how, what you see in the real world with a blockchain and payment systems versus the research that’s been done on it? Are they pretty well connected, or do you find that the real world is not as well represented in modeling as it should be? Are things missing from the academic discussion of a blockchain and payments?

Christian Catalini: I would love to be very careful now answer this one to make sure all my academic friends are not offended. When I started studying cryptocurrencies, this was in 2013 when we did the MIT Bitcoin experiment. The idea was always to understand, you know, from an economics perspective, this is a technology that clearly, you know, around blockchain cryptocurrencies as very high potential to democratize access to financial services systems and to enable an array of new products and services that will be beneficial to society, especially when we think about financial inclusion and, you know, segments that are completely excluded because of the cost structure, and because of how the system is designed today from equal access. And I think, you know, when I started working on this project towards the beginning of 2018, I was growing increasingly frustrated with the fact that there was a lot of work and experimentation, but when you looked at problems actually being solved, there wasn’t as much progress in terms of solutions. We’re delivering on that promise. I think there is as always really important being done by academics, from an array of kind of fields of economics and related areas of discipline.

What often happens is that academic research, because also the incentive system rewards certain types of work, certain types of paper. There’s often a disconnect between some of the theoretical pieces or some of even the applied thesis and the phenomena. That was something that in my research I always felt was really important to be close to the phenomena. My hope is that maybe even through efforts like Libra, and I think we’re seeing some, some of this already happening around CBDC. We did create a resurgence in interest in, in, in upgrading payment systems and things that were considered very boring, but are actually quite important to society. My hope is that over time there will be more applied work that actually reflects what the technology can and cannot do. That will require actual a lot of collaboration interactions between economists, for example, but also computer scientists, legal experts, because what makes this field fascinating is that you need multiple areas of expertise. I think the project like Libra is an example of that. You can’t innovate in this sector without bringing, you know, clever engineer that has been thinking about protocol level design, like Dahlia was the lead developer of the Libra Association, without some economic thinking, without the legal constraints and kind of boundaries about to really design new products and services. Of course, then, you know, the expertise of people like Matthew that actually understand what the real problems are from a financial inclusion perspective. That’s been the most fascinating part of my journey. You know, on leave from MIT as being learning about all these other pieces and then trying to kind of fit them together.

Sarah Oh: There are a lot of other projects happening in this space. It seems like kind of a Wild West. I think a lot of regulators are skeptical because some competing projects aren’t asking permission or are just going forward and you see these, you know, big blow ups or fraud, et cetera. Does Libra Association have a point of view about other projects or is it more like, keep your head down and build and, and survive and then let everyone else fail and build what you need to build? What do you think of all the other projects?

Dante Disparte: Like Christian, you know, I too have been a careful student of crypto developments and blockchain and the ICO bubble and how many regulators and others, their first experience with this asset class, might’ve been through a ransomware attack, which is a greater indictment on cybersecurity than it is an indictment on the payment mechanism. And I see this as, in some respects of all ships rising moments for the asset class, because the conversation has now entered the main stage. We have had three public hearings in the United States where the case for financial inclusion could be made. We have had countless hours of global conversation and dialogue. We have more than 70% of the world’s central banks thinking about CBDC. We have certain countries advancing leaps and bounds over others in terms of the design principles. And I would argue that we’re in nothing short of a standards we’re potentially on the future of money in the future of payment networks. In that vein, of course, we were not blind to the fact that this is a competitive ecosystem, but we’re very, very deeply focused to our core priorities, get it right, get it fast, ensure that at the end, the network performs the functions it has to perform at the technological organizational regulatory levels. Then thereafter over a long period of time, you’ll, you’ll catalyze an ecosystem around it, much like you have seen with mobile money, much like you have seen with the ability to develop app stores and have communities and ecosystems. We’re very deeply committed to that. And what unites all of the members in the project is that common cause and that commitment to that, that type of mission. And then along the way, many projects will come and go. We argue that not all stable coins are created equal, but we also, argue, as Christian just pointed out, that a stable coin construct, perhaps as a bridge to public sector innovation and digitizing their own currencies, when that ever occurs, I think the world will be a better place for the fact that a network like this exists that can support last mile delivery and can support users having more access to a lot of the basics we may take for granted

Christian Catalini: On that, just to add a few thoughts, I think it’s important for there to be competition. You are across networks and across, so projects that will make Libra a better project. It’s great to see that there’s a number of initiatives from public private engagements, and we can all learn from each other in terms of designing the future of financial inclusion and financial services.

Sarah Oh: Great. Well, thank you all for coming on and giving us a little bit of an introduction to Libra and payments. It seems like it’s an ecosystem that’s developing and there’s no turning back, really, so you might as well start catching up and keeping an eye on this sector. Thank you!

Share This Article

View More Publications by Sarah Oh Lam and Scott Wallsten

Recommended Reads

Related Articles

Sign Up for Updates

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.