Bison Trails: Why do we spend $10 million to become a Libra node?

Of the 29 companies that have partnered with Facebook Libra this week, there are four relatively small blockchain companies.

One of them is Bison Trails, an infrastructure provider for several protocols and blockchains in the cryptocurrency space. Facebook contacted the company in early 2019 to ask if it could help build a set of scalable nodes to run the network. Bison agreed and paid $10 million for the top spot on Facebook. But what makes this company so eager to participate?

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Joe Lallouz, CEO of Bison Trails, said it was not trying to make a profit.

“As a founding member of the association, we are able to promote this technology, stick to the values ​​of (blockchain) towards massification, and participate in the governance process of this important project.”

David Marcus, head of the Facebook blockchain project, said there is no direct economic incentive to support — running the network at a very low cost — and that founding members can't access personal data. While these members' investments do receive interest, and Facebook's white paper has a vague promise—using cash earnings to invest in low-risk securities, Bison Trails can make similar investments without Facebook's help. So what did Facebook give them?

Lallouz said the project itself is a good reason for their participation. How to extend Facebook's platform to billions of users is a unique challenge, especially since the platform is different from most blockchain projects and is not based on any consensus agreement. He added that the Libra token is expected to be officially launched in 2020, and it will be interesting to work with it.

But at the same time, Libra's development will not be smooth.

Lallouz said:

“I think it will face the similar challenges that most of the new blockchains face. To be successful, it must drive adoption and adopt large-scale, effective use cases.”

One of the main challenges Libra faces may be the collaboration of all founding members. In fact, this is one of the largest governance mechanisms currently available in the trial. The size here refers not to the number of participants but to the size of the company running the node. Lallouz thinks this can bring us some inspiration.

“To be honest, as a company that drives the cryptocurrency mission, I am very happy to participate in this experiment. I think this is a critical moment for cryptocurrencies that could affect billions of people.”

I believe everyone in the community is looking forward to seeing the end result.