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Does Facebook Need A Humanitarian Partner For Its New Digital Currency? (NPR)

July 19, 2019

From the article:

It's not easy giving money to people in need.

In some countries, poor people may not have a bank account where a charity can transfer funds for financial aid. They may not have the ID — say, a birth certificate — required to cash a check at a bank.

And in an emergency situation — say, the aftermath of an earthquake — banks may not even be operating.

Libra was announced with only a white paper outlining its vision and mission statement, says Jeremy Konyndyk, a senior policy fellow at the Center for Global Development.

"Mercy Corps has certainly tried to be on the leading edge of some of these [financial] innovations," says Konyndyk, who worked at the aid group from 2008 to 2013. "Sometimes that pays off. And sometimes it doesn't."

One of the biggest concerns that Konyndyk has about the Mercy Corps' partnership is the lack of information about how the currency will work in the real world. "They are basically betting by being involved at this early phase," says Konyndyk.

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Senior Policy Fellow