While Facebook is criticized for its lax approach towards privacy and the often-toxic business practices, it’s still one of the most important companies on the web. Just by the amount of users it boosts – 2.38 billion as of January 2019 – anything championed by the giant will gain lots of attention and traction.
Knowing that, it’s not surprising Facebook’s attempts to create its own cryptocurrency have gathered lots of press. In fact, after Bitcoin, Facebook’s fabled Libra project might well be the second most talked about crypto project in the mainstream.
But, does that buzz around it translate to the cryptocurrency actually being successful even before any details about it are officially unveiled?
Very little is known
Here’s the first fact: We know nothing about the Libra project. Other than a few of those involved, but not necessarily behind it, there’s no official information whatsoever.
At this point, all we know for sure is that Facebook is pursuing its own cryptocurrency. Everything else are rumors or assumptions.
This is important because, while many of these rumors might be true, this means that it’s all speculation at this point.
That works for the crypto market, since it’s largely speculative, and it keeps the Libra project in the news, which we’re sure Facebook likes, but… it doesn’t do much more than that.
And even how much it helps the Libra project in the crypto market can be argued, since all the rumors in the world won’t matter once an official announcement is out there.
Since the cryptocurrency can’t go on sale without such an announcement, all pre-release rumors and hype won’t really affect Libra’s success in the end.
Then, there’s something else: One of the chief rumors says that Libra will be a stablecoin. Which in turn means the token won’t be able to gain or lose value, no matter how well designed it is.
In a world where cryptocurrencies are seen as investment options by the mainstream, that’s a problem.
Expectations aren’t based on the token itself
As mentioned, since the token is believed to be a stablecoin, nobody is waiting to spend a fortune buying Libra tokens. Instead, what the crypto community is buzzed about, is how such a stablecoin could help drive crypto adoption.
Facebook’s reach is unprecedented for the crypto market. If Facebook pushes libra and gains many adopters, that will mean the crypto adoption rate will shoot up – which should in turn drive many people towards trading other cryptocurrencies.
In other words, the buzz in the community is about Libra working as a gateway cryptocurrency, but not so much about Libra being a game changer.
What ranking might mean
Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean Libra isn’t ranking highly. It just means whatever buzz it has now might well disappear before it officially releases.
But let’s assume it does have huge amount of buzz – then we should ask ourselves, what does “ranking” mean?
Regularly, ranking would be interpreted as market capitalization. However, since Libra isn’t out yet and it won’t be running an ICO, that would be impossible. Libra’s market capitalization is effectively zero.
There are other ways to assume ranking. Google search ranking is another one – one could reasonably believe that, due to the buzz around it, Libra is being constantly googled. This would be an interesting measure and give us insight into its expected success.
However, actual data quickly proves this to be wrong. Actual search stats put the Libra project behind both Bitcoin, Ethereum, and XRP, making it at the very least #4. To be fair, it does rank above Zcash.
Another way to think about it is by how much it appears in the news – and it’s only here that Libra does rank well.
Bitcoin has been mentioned in 44,800,000 news items over the last month. Ethereum has been mentioned about 3,960,000 times. Facebook Libra? 8,860,000 times.
But while news coverage could be considered rating, that’s hardly a measure of success. It’s a measure of interest from news sites, which sure is important, but it doesn’t reflect market tendencies.
Does it even matter?
It’s impossible to gauge how successful Libra might or not be without knowing anything about it before. And even knowing, we won’t know about its success until it is out, and we start seeing real numbers.
This is important, because while Libra has potential right now the buzz is in part thanks to the air of secrecy around it.
That secrecy might work in its favor right now, but it’ll only help in the long term if the project delivers. And we won’t know that until later this year.
So while it’s hardly true that Libra is ranking as #2 crypto, that doesn’t matter right now.
What does matter is that it’s gaining some buzz – and that said buzz could well drive its adoption once it is launched.