Libra changes name to Diem for 'organisational independence'

The cryptocurrency association is hoping to seize the day with the name change.
Written by Campbell Kwan, Contributor

Libra Association, the cryptocurrency group started by Facebook, announced on Tuesday that it has changed its name in a bid to demonstrate "organisational independence" after facing regulatory backlash globally.

It will now be known as Diem Association instead, which means "day" in Latin, with its subsidiary Diem Networks to serve as the payment system operator. In making the name change, the organisation said its goal is still to build a safe, secure, and compliant payment system.

"The Diem project will provide a simple platform for fintech innovation to thrive and enable consumers and businesses to conduct instantaneous, low-cost, highly secure transactions," Diem Association CEO Stuart Levey said.

Diem's planned product has shrunk significantly in scope since it was first announced in June last year. When the project was first announced, the association aimed for Libra, now called Diem Dollar, to be a cryptocurrency supported by a basket of government-issued fiat currencies and securities.

This has since changed however, with ArsTechnica reporting that the association is now only planning to launch a single coin that is backed one-for-one by the US dollar.

The exact launch date of the coin could come as early as January but this would depend on when regulatory approval is provided by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority, the report said.

Since its inception, the Facebook-backed cryptocurrency project has faced worldwide scrutiny. Over the past year, the US House Committee on Financial Services has repeatedly expressed widespread mistrust of Facebook's cryptocurrency plan, saying the company's attempt at entering into financial services was troubling and should be broken up

Meanwhile, regulators from Albania, Australia, Canada, the EU, and the UK have jointly expressed concerns about the privacy risks posed by Diem's digital currency and infrastructure.

This backlash led to various launch partners, such as Mastercard, Visa, eBay, and Stripe, dropping out of the project due to the worldwide regulatory scrutiny. 

The name change follows Facebook changing the name of its blockchain subsidiary to Novi. Previously called Calibra, Novi is responsible for building a digital wallet that would eventually hold the Diem cryptocurrency.

"While we've changed our name from Calibra, we haven't changed our long-term commitment to helping people around the world access affordable financial services," Facebook said at the time.

"Novi was inspired by the Latin words 'novus' for 'new' and 'via' for 'way'. It's a new way to send money, and Novi's new visual identity and design represent the fluid movement of digital currencies," the company explained.

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