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How cryptocurrencies can replace other pay options

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Cryptocurrencies live in a volatile, roller-coaster world, which Facebook is seeking to change with its new Libra digital money.

The new digital currency will be overseen by a nonprofit association and backed with real assets to serve as a reliable, stable form of globally accepted money that lives essentially on smartphones.

How do cryptocurrencies work?

To use currencies like Libra, people will need to install software referred to as a digital wallet.

Several digital wallets are available, but one called Calibra is being built by a Facebook subsidiary for Apple- and Android-powered smartphones and integrated with the social network’s Messenger and WhatsApp mobile services.

This system “lets everyone store their money securely in their phone,” Calibra vice president of product Kevin Weil told AFP.

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A digital wallet chosen by the user is linked to bank accounts or credit cards for transfers or online transactions.

“The same way you can pick any browser to go on the internet, you can pick any digital wallet,” Weil said.

– What are the advantages? –

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Libra was released as an open ecosystem, so any business or service may accept it for payments. Financial institutions could also offer credit or loans in Libra.

“Imagine storing your life savings in your house; it is safer to take it with you on the go on your phone,” Weil said.

Calibra, for example, could be used to send money to friends or family members in another country, or shop at stores online or in the real world the same way they might use Apple Pay or Google Pay.

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More than a billion people already use WhatsApp and Messenger to communicate, so providing a way to send money makes sense.

“Over time, as the Libra ecosystem grows and Libra is built into products and services, there will be more things you can just do with Libra,” Weil said.

– How is cash converted to crypto? –

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People without access to banks could go to a currency exchange or merchant to convert cash into Libra.

Once on a smartphone, Libra could be sent text-message style, with recipients having the option to save it in their own wallets for future use or convert it to their local currency.

“We make it easy to go back and forth to local currency,” Weil said.

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“If you are unbanked, you will have locations like money exchanges that operate with Libra.”

Currency exchange fees would be market-driven, but likely less than remittance fees charged by businesses that wire funds.

Calibra has built-in fraud and password recovery protections, and there is a “know-your-customer” process that requires people to initially provide some form of government identification.

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“This is people’s money; we feel a huge responsibility to keep it safe,” Weil said.


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2020 Election

Trump’s racist attacks on Dem lawmakers are a test run in case he faces Kamala Harris in 2020: MSNBC contributor

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Speaking with host Alex Witt on Sunday afternoon, an MSNBC contributor speculated that Donald Trump's racist attack on four female Democrats -- none of whom are white -- was a test run to see how far he can go attacking Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) should she be his opponent in the 2020 general election.

According to Democratic strategist Don Calloway, Trump may not have a grand strategy, but he's in "campaign mode" which brings out his barely concealed inner-racist.

"I'm not one to ascribe a strategy to the president when it's clear he's not a deep thinker, but he is, however, in campaign mode," he explained. "I see this as a good campaign device for him to gin up his base, fueled by the xenophobia and race-based hatred."

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Here’s how lawyers enabling Trump’s obstruction can have their livelihoods stripped from them — by anyone

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In a column for the Daily Beast, a former Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives laid out a simple way to force lawyers advising aides to Donald Trump to defy Congressional subpoenas -- or avoiding one themselves -- to stop giving bad advice by moving to have them disbarred.

According to Brad Miller, who represented North Carolina in Congress between 2003 and 2013, the way in which former President Bill Clinton's impeachment was handled -- and the penalty he eventually received -- is a road map for legal retaliation even if Democrats in Congress won't do it.

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Lara Trump snarls at critics of ‘send her back’ for pushing a ‘biased, racially-charged narrative’

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Lara Trump, the wife of President Donald Trump's son Eric, has accused CNN anchor Anderson Cooper of pushing a "biased, racially-charged narrative" after he criticized her recent defense of the Trump administration over the "send her back" scandal.

This article first appeared on Salon.

"Anyone insinuating that there was some premeditated plan to orchestrate the “send her back” chant is obviously desperate to continue pushing a biased, racially-charged narrative. #FakeNews," Trump posted to her Twitter account on Saturday. She included a link to the Washington Examiner, a right-leaning newspaper which included a quote from Cooper blasting Trump for supposedly "lying" about her role in whipping up a crowd to chant "send her back" about Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn.

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