Amazon Less Headlong on Crypto as Facebook Coin Gets Lots of Interest


A member of Amazon’s top brass is negging cryptocurrency today as tech media continues to exult over Facebook’s new pending stablecoin.

“It’s fresh, it’s speculative;” said Fortune’s Brainstorm Finance 2019 event, Patrick Gaulthier, vice president of Amazon Pay, according to Cointelegraph reports this morning. “At Amazon, we don’t really deal with the speculative, in the now.”

Although it may sound as though Gaulthier doth protest too much, the VP actually lays out a cogent set of reasons for acting slowly on a new crypto initiative.

One is domestic regulatory headwinds, with the less prominent news making the rounds that some lawmakers and regulatory people would like Facebook to discontinue its program.

Others have to do with international response, where various countries may react poorly to Facebook’s enormously broad-spectrum blockchain innovation.

However, there’s a real feeling that this is the blockchain zeitgeist, that these digital technologies are something for which the time has come.

Reading between the lines, you can almost hear Gaulthier leaving the door open for efforts in the future.

“At Amazon, we deal with data a lot, so I’ll be happy to have that conversation two or three years from now,” he reportedly said.

That’s partly because of all of the new institutional investment in blockchain and cryptocurrencies, and Facebook’s positive press.

“Many cryptocurrency buffs woke up today like it was Christmas morning,” wrote Tatiana Koffman two days ago in Forbes. “Facebook finally released the Libra White Paper, and many of us couldn’t wait to unwrap what it had in store.”

PCMag’s coverage is more in-depth, highly technical, and muted in tone:

“The true value of a crypto coin for Facebook is in convenience and engagement,” writes BB, explaining in great detail the permissionless and ceded nature of the FB coin. “Beyond any kind of altruistic notion of advancing an economic vision of digital money, Facebook is connecting all its apps and giving users a universal currency to use within them. Billion of users who already use these apps daily or monthly will have a built-in mechanism to spend their money there, too. The implications of this shift could turn Facebook from an online ad behemoth into a financial services and shopping giant to rival Amazon and big banks, especially because Libra and Calibra will be available to everyone beyond just the billions who use Facebook-owned apps.”

In the end, as with any coin, (hint, BTC) there are the fans and the detractors.

We’ll see what happens.