Xiao Lei: The biggest challenge for Tencent and Ali will be digital currency.

Yesterday was a memorable day. There were two long texts to read. One was a white paper published by the US Internet giant Facebook on a new global digital currency, and the other was a record of conversations between two American university students and Ren Zhengfei. I couldn't stand the temptation, or I first read Facebook's digital currency white paper, and then wrote an analysis.

Yesterday's article I directly combined the object of analysis of the target with the current mobile payment in China. When the article was just finished, many public numbers began to plagiarize and misappropriate. Today, almost all points of view point to the comparison with mobile payments, as if I heard that Ali and Tencent have already spoken.

I think this is a good thing. All the silence is either facing death, or is brewing a new outbreak. The business of China’s Internet giants, I personally feel that it has been silent for a long time, has become a machine for making money for shareholders, innovation Although the blood is still full of the Internet, the edge of innovation has been passivated. Without the stimulation of the “stone of other mountains”, I am afraid that it will continue to be conceited.

Why do you want to add another article about Facebook's digital currency Libra today? There are two main reasons. One is that Libra can't make direct comparison with mobile payment. The logic of my last analysis is that Libra and China's mobile payment are already different things in the world. If you want to put some technology and data. Getting together for comparison is not helpful for everyone to recognize the future; another reason is that no matter how you analyze it, it still underestimates the long-term impact of Libra on various fields around the world.

As a follower and catcher of the Internet field, China is actually a force that cannot be ignored in the global Internet market, but China's speed is still relatively slow. I am here to give an example. The latest Internet phenomenon-level application sharing economy, the US shared taxi software Uber was founded in 2009, and China's Fast and Didi was founded in 2012, three years late. From the development of Bitcoin and Ethereum, the blockchain China is even later.

In fact, it is more true that sharing a taxi has changed something. It is not easy to say at present, but the only thing that can be certain is that the economic value of sharing a taxi is definitely not calculated. In 2017 alone, the turnover of Didi exceeded RMB 430 billion. What is the concept? In 2017, there were only three companies with sales of more than RMB 430 billion in China, namely Country Garden, Evergrande and Vanke, ranking first. Country Garden, but also sold 580 billion. Proud Gree, made in China, has sales of less than 150 billion in 2017.

The aggregation and repetitive effects of the Internet on business cannot be understood by the logic of traditional markets. From the blockchain level, the first big application is bitcoin. As of now, the number of active wallets holding Bitcoin is less than 5 million, but the daily transaction volume is close to 10 billion US dollars. 3.6 trillion US dollars, equivalent to 25 trillion yuan.

Libra released by Facebook, even if only one-tenth of users will start using it in the future, its initial size is more than 200 million. According to Facebook's plan, the association responsible for running Libra will create a dynamic developer ecosystem that builds applications and services to stimulate Libra worldwide. In the founding members of Libra, Uber, a shared taxi software, is on the list.


In the blockchain industry, everyone is struggling to find a killer application that can bridge the user divide (from niche to large-scale users), but this application will not break through internally, because even the most consistent bitcoin, The range of users of its radiation has not exceeded 50 million. And Libra will likely push the blockchain application across the chasm.

Libra also solves two levels of problems, one is the problem of trading media. The current mobile payment, the medium is the legal currency, whether you use the US dollar or the renminbi, is a certain trading medium, what is the difference between Libra and Libra? In fact, the difference is very big. If you are using mobile payment (French currency system), behind it is actually a series of infrastructure preparations, including the bank card to be bound with third-party payment, including the merchant must have third-party payment collection qualification. Banks also need to establish cooperation with third-party payment. Enterprises need to obtain relevant account and software binding through business tax, etc. Mobile payment looks very convenient from the front desk, but its transaction once is the transfer of the entire back-end financial system. endorsement.

Libra is completely different. I pay Libra, no bank, no third-party payment settlement agency, directly on the program (blockchain), cross from my Libra wallet, add to your wallet Yes, this process is done automatically, and it is recorded on the blockchain. It can be permanently preserved and not tamper-proof, completely transparent, and is more convenient for tracking and supervision.

So suppose a merchant wants to collect money with Libra, then you only need to register a wallet address, you don't need to get a mobile phone number beforehand, then register Alipay or WeChat, and then do a bank card to bind with WeChat or Alipay. Wait. Therefore, Libra's scalable payment scenarios are unlimited and arbitrarily increased. In other words, Libra Payments can instantly replace the mobile payments we rely on today, without any additional infrastructure.

Everyone should know why banknotes can replace gold, on the one hand because of the government's coercive effect, but the main reason is that in modern business society, if you take gold to do payment tools, you need a lot of conditions, if the transaction If you have a large amount, you may not be able to take it. Therefore, compared with Libra payment, the backwardness of mobile payment is that there are too many financial conditions presupposed. The fundamental problem is that mobile payment is only a tool and has not created a market for international retail. Instant transaction media, and Libra is a payment tool and a transaction medium. So compared to Libra payments, mobile payments are as clumsy as paying with gold.


I also saw that many people pay attention to Libra with technical aspects. In fact, it is not very meaningful to analyze Libra from a technical perspective. As Ma Huateng mentioned in his response to Libra, the technology is mature and not difficult. It depends on whether regulation is allowed.

Ma Huateng’s implication is that this matter is very simple, and supervision can do as long as it is allowed. My understanding is that this sentence is placed in any field of technology or financial innovation, and that people like Ma Huateng say it, whether it is banking, energy, games, gambling or special industries. So the biggest question is where our will is. Baidu is a forerunner, Google went to Android, went to artificial intelligence, and moved to biotechnology, while Baidu still stayed at the auction stage.

Facebook's operation of Libra is not without supervision. It is because of the supervision that this thing is more breakthrough. When technology is not a key breakthrough point, then who can embrace and break through the regulation, who can get more competitive barriers, so what I want to tell you is that Libra's future competitiveness is not technology at all, so you use a technical perspective. To analyze Libra is very self-righteous.

Libra's real competitiveness is that it is using a large organization and liaison, even the ability to understand international politics and legal systems, and to integrate with regulation.

If people who know about the Facebook listing process should know Zuckerberg's power, it can be said that in the process of Facebook's listing, Zuckerberg took the nose of Wall Street investment bank, which is rare in history, because Zuckerberg Ge knows their gameplay.

The same is true for Libra's release. Libra's real governing body is Libra Associates, an independent, not-for-profit membership organization based in Geneva, Switzerland. In the white paper, it is written that Switzerland has a global neutrality and a history of openness to blockchain technology. The association is committed to being a neutral international institution and therefore can choose to register there.

Suppose that if Tencent or Alibaba went to Geneva to register such an institution, it might be drowned by many people in China. But if you want to get out of this step, you need to choose a place where you can experiment and break through.

In addition, Libra has proposed a “dealer” model, and the Libra Association does not have a monetary policy. It only casts and destroys Libra when responding to requests from authorized dealers. Users do not have to worry about introducing inflation into the system or correlating currency depreciation. For the new Libra to be cast, the dealer must pay the appropriate legal currency to the “custodian”.

This means that the dealer network will be the most critical part of Libra's operation, and if the dealer chooses to accept and participate actively, many problems will be solved. This is similar to the premise of if online banking, Alipay or WeChat payment, accepting another currency to run in an account or wallet, of course, regulation allows it.

Therefore, Libra relies on dealers to solve the problem of upstream supervision, which is an indirect break. According to the white paper, more cryptocurrency trading companies and top banking institutions as authorized dealers will continue to provide Libra with liquidity so that people have the opportunity to exchange between Libra and local currency as easily as possible. Although traditional banks will resist, there are always people who are willing to join.

Libra's dealer network is Libra's body and operating foundation, and its role may be more important than Libra itself. This is like when we go to the plane, we will not study technical issues such as the composition of the aircraft, nor Will question the level of the pilot, because we believe in the entire industry chain and social division of labor. When Libra is in front of everyone, in fact, Facebook has already solved the upstream entity building. You only need to play one passenger and you can ask for the flight demand from the airline.

What do I mean by this, let me give you another example, such as our taxi software drip, when you have drip software on your mobile phone, or when you open the software on WeChat, drip this The company has solved the problem of "building a plane" behind the company. First, the government allowed it to release the software. Second, it has to bind many private cars to the software vendor. Third, he has to establish a docking with the payment institution. There must be enough to join the vehicle and so on. When you use this software, just like you have to board an airplane, you don't need to pay attention to the technology of the aircraft.


Can you understand the structure of the aircraft engine?

Once Libra is born, it will mean that the world will intermediate the combination of currency and mobile. Once the Pandora's Box is opened, you will discuss technical issues and compare it with mobile payments. It makes no sense. Therefore, whether it is an analyst or a market stakeholder, such as Tencent or Alibaba, what is to be studied is what kind of form Libra will be born, what kind of impact will be formed first, what will be done by countries, and the future will become scale. At what point in time the development will come, rather than entangled in some unnecessary explanations and comparisons.

From a longer-term perspective, Libra is not just a world currency. From its intent, it is actually building a new value-bearing system that can be compared with this system, as well as Android, Apple or Microsoft. It will make future systems, payments and international currencies more monopolistic rather than fragmented. When the chain is still desperately supporting the various applications on its own chain, the emergence of Libra may make many public chains become very embarrassing.

But any historic change begins with a long process of infiltration. The birth of Libra has been around for ten years since the birth of Bitcoin. So Libra's development will not be smooth, but from the perspective of ten years, what Libra has stimulated may be much more terrible than Bitcoin. So in that case, we may overestimate the impact of Libra in a year, but certainly underestimate the impact of ten years.

Text / Xiao Lei