Billionaire businessman Mark Cuban called Facebook & # 39; s launch of Libra and his trip to cryptocurrency a "big mistake" in a recent interview with CNBC. He joined this week Verge editor-in-chief Nilay Patel to further discuss his views on Libra and why he considered the new venture as & # 39; dangerous & # 39; regards.
Patel and Cuban also discuss artificial intelligence, net neutrality, the breakup of Big Tech, investment opportunities that Cuban is now excited about, and more in the latest episode of The Vergecast. Below is a slightly edited excerpt of the conversation.
Nilay Patel: Let's start with Libra because you were literally on CNBC recently and said, "It's a big mistake and it's dangerous." I actually agree with you, but go ahead and explain why.
Mark Cuban: I am not against cryptocurrency at all. I am not against the distributed nature of cryptocurrency. I think the idea that there is no central control is a bit exaggerated because there are so many forks and there are so many changes and management problems that you know that there is always an external factor that forces control. But the problem I have with Facebook is that Facebook is in a unique situation with more than 2 billion users worldwide.
By having these tentacles all over the world, they have the opportunity to have more impact in countries where there is less stability. And if you get a company like Facebook, with the power and leverage and the financial resources they have – not to choose Africa, but African countries with less stable currencies & governments can create problems that can lead to people die. And so if Facebook would say, "We're starting the United States with Libra" or "We're going to start in the United States and Canada and Western Europe." Okay, go for it. Let's wait and see what happens. But if you want to extend this to 2.2 billion users worldwide, the law of unintended consequences is inevitable and is likely to be a negative output.
And as I said in the CNBC interview, I think that people will die because of that, when you start to influence the possibilities of a currency manipulation despot and their ability to tax and control what they can in their country, That is when despair points tend to tackle matters of their own hands and people die.
Do you think this would be a different kind of conversation if Facebook didn't suggest something like that?
You can choose company X with 2.2 billion users worldwide, and I would say the same.
So why do you think they are pushing it so hard?
If you question Facebook's ability to monetize personal information, and you think there is a risk that it might disappear, what other ways could they use 2.2 billion users?
By reducing the transaction costs.
And creating your own global global currency. What is better than that? They think big and I understand why they do it. They are in a unique position to literally create a global currency and I understand why they want to do it. Whether you only take one forge per transaction or you effectively become the fiat currency outside the largest countries in the world. Why wouldn't you try that? And the reason you wouldn't do that, especially in the types of countries I mentioned, is the risk of people dying.
So how do you think this kind crosses with other types of crypto, such as bitcoin and Ethereum?
It doesn't. They are two different things. I think it's a platform that they use as an excuse to become a global currency. Look at it this way: what is the biggest piece you could ever imagine? Create your own global currency. What doesn't exist now? A global currency. The US dollar is a kind of fiat global currency that is accepted everywhere, but it is not digital. It's not like they use bitcoin and said, "You know what? There is already a base here. We're going to support it, and we're going to expand it by allowing it to be used worldwide with transactions on Facebook."
No. The majority of their user base consists of telephones with lower power with minimal connectivity and in places all over the world that use their telephones as a bank. Global currency dominance is the way I see it. And I am not necessarily against that. More power for them to enable themselves to at least try it. But you have to consider what happens in the most remote elements of that currency chain, if you want. And that is where problems occur.