Davos digital-payments rift pits Facebook against central banks

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INTERNATIONAL – A rift among the global elite over the future of digital payments was on display during a panel discussion at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

At stake is the potential overhaul of the global financial system that could see companies like Facebook Inc. pitted against the world’s central banks in the race to develop a worldwide digital currency. On the one side are private companies looking to capitalize on the cryptocurrency trend that could circumnavigate traditional banking systems — on the other are central banks at risk of being left behind.

“There are so many people that are strapped in the cash economy today that if they have a window into the world’s economy and the ability to digitize their money and have more opportunity, it changes their lives,” David Marcus, the executive who leads Facebook’s blockchain team, said in defense of Libra, the company’s stablecoin initiative.

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