A founder of the recently launched enterprise to apply for membership to the Libra Association is excited by the strong local support that is ‘springing up’ about Libra’s innovation.
“We thought there would be some interest but were not expecting so many partners to sign up immediately. Their level of expertise of what Libra can bring to Australia is well informed; the knowledge base locally on blockchain technology is deep and practical.
“Through a consortium of partners, we’re seeking membership to the Libra Association in Switzerland and to operate the technology in Australia. This technology includes having Australia become one of the official Nodes for Libra,” said Luke Behncke, CEO, Libra Australia.
The instigators of the local consortium are Heath and Luke Behncke. These twin brothers are Australian fund managers. Their fund, the Holon Photon Fund, is focused on global innovation, particularly digital innovation – thus their close interest in Libra.
They believe that the Libra Association’s proposed innovation of a global digital currency to enable billions of people to access fast, low-cost and secure payment services may grow faster than many business leaders would expect to see change.
Business and Government face a threshold question
Australian business leaders, regulators, social impact organisations, researchers and politicians will quickly face a threshold question regarding Libra.
The threshold question won’t be about Facebook (as it is only one of the 28 members of Libra), but whether Australia can risk being left out of the conversation, and consequently, left out of the innovation.
Libra is questioning the current global payments structure and has let the digital currency genie out of the bottle. Local currencies may have serious competition in the future, with a ‘don’t participate at your peril’ message sewn right into the fabric of Libra.
Politicians, banks and business leaders know that existing global payment systems are slow/costly/problematic. The existing country-based systems present real barriers to business and individuals moving currency around the world.
The threshold question is simply now about whether Australia watches Libra from the side lines or seeks a seat at the founders’ table to fully understand the opportunity and impacts.
Australia is vulnerable to global digitalisation of financial services
They suggest not to underestimate the pace of scale that global digitalisation of payment systems may bring. These sorts of digital technology models have been tried and proven over the last decade, such as Netflix, Google, Amazon and Xero, to name a few. They believe that the Australian financial services industry is particularly exposed to this kind of digital disruption.
“We need to be better prepared and work with our industry to secure opportunities for jobs, business and market growth as well as identify transitional impacts as questions about the future of money and digitalisation and traditional payment structures are in such open review by companies and governments”, said Mr Behncke.