The Libra White Paper was published on June 18, 2019. The project had been in prior closed-door development for over a year. Rumors began circulating in May of 2018 when David Marcus, former Facebook VP announced that he would be leaving his six-month position on the Board of Directors of Coinbase to lead a blockchain project at an unnamed social media giant. Less than a year later, Bloomberg and the New York Times reported that Facebook was building it’s own stablecoin. Alarm bells rang when Facebook advertised for a Blockchain Liaison position at the company in March 2019. Later that May, Facebook entered into talks with major players like Visa and Mastercard in an effort to solicit $1 billion in funding for “Project Libra.” That same month, Facebook hires two former Coinbase officers and MIT professor of crypto-economics Christian Catalini, all while entering into talks with Coinbase and Gemini.
In June 2019, Facebook met with the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission and announces the Libra stablecoin would be pegged to a “basket” of world fiat currencies. Government agencies and banks from around the world took notice. The G7 and Bank of England each appointed a task force. The United States Senate announced hearings to be held later in July. Watchdog groups called on lawmakers to halt development. Jerome Powell, President Trump, and Steve Mnuchin all raised separate concerns. There was palpable institutional objection to the project. Nevertheless, the People’s Bank of China saw Libra as an opportunity to push their own CBDC.
On September 18, 2019 Mark Zuckerberg told Senate leaders that Libra would not launch until approved by U.S. regulators. However, in 2019, the Libra begins to lose major support. Pioneering Libra architect Morgan Bellar resigns in a move viewed as a big vote of no confidence in the project. As a result of growing objections from government agencies, banks, and markets worldwide, original members of the Libra Association council begin jumping ship in mass. These include Mercado Pego, eBay, Mastercard, Visa, Booking Holdings, and Stripe. The remaining 21 original council members sign the Libra Association charter on October 14, 2019.
The following year, the Libra Association begins a hiring spree of former high-ranking regulators and institutional banking and private sector officers. In April 2020, Libra rewrites the original White Paper replacing the 1-1 stablecoin fiat backing strategy with a collection of stablecoins each backed by particular asset. These assets include national fiat currencies and government securities. These moves are viewed as a clear effort to appease regulators and central banks. In a marketing endeavor to distance itself with Facebook, the Calibra wallet is rebranded as Novi, and Libra is rebranded as Diem on December 1, 2020. Later in the month, Diem hires former FinCen officer Robet Warner as general council. Warner claims the Diem stablecoin is ready to go upon approval by FINMA, the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority. Facebook claims to be weeks away from launch.
On October 29, 2021, Facebook announces it’s rebranding to Meta. Another clear strategy to push Facebook’s original Libra vision while distancing itself from the trustless connotations of the Facebook brand. The Diem stablecoin continues to face objection from U.S. regulators and central banks. The Diem stablecoin and network currently does not exist.