(BlockBar) MIT scholars accuse Facebook of plagiarizing the results of their dissertation on Libra’s design.
The globally encrypted currency project “libra” that the social networking company “Facebook” is promoting is strikingly similar in several respects to what was envisaged in a paper published last year in the Royal Society’s Open Science Publication.
For example, the Libra White Paper proposes a digital currency whose value is stable because it has a basket of sovereign currencies and short-term debts to support it. This is similar to the paper published by Alex Lipton, Thomas Hardjono and Alex “Sandy” Pentland of MIT in July 2018, which describes a supranational digital token, Tradecoin, supported by assets. (Of course, the assets they propose are commodities such as oil or crops).
Libra is a group of 27 financial, technological and venture capital firms dedicated to the development of the libra project, similar to the alliance that mentioned in the above paper to manage Tradecoin. To be fair, Libra’s economic design, as stated in its white paper, is designed to complement existing infrastructure; as the Libra Association says, they do not want to infringe on the authority of the Central Bank. Tradecoin, by contrast, can be seen as a real-world challenger, allowing “small countries, sovereign wealth funds and pension funds to be treated fairly in the world financial system, rather than being ignored or exploited by large central banks,” as the author pointed out in a recent paper. Both tokens are designed to simplify domestic and cross-border payments and, at a higher level, to extend financial services to areas where banks are inadequate. Of course, Libra and Tradecoin both use distributed accounts.
The scholar of Connection Science from MIT said: “The actual structure of Libra almost completely copies the papers I published last year with Sandy Pentland and Thomas Hardjono.” Lipton sounded a little angry. He said that Libra’s papers did not mention the contributions of these scholars at all, but what was even more irritating was that the paper was part of the Royal Society’s scientific research which was completely free.
Lipton pointed out that the paper he co-authored with Pentland was the cover article of Scientific America on the future of currency. “The Libra team can’t say they haven’t read this book. Or, if they hadn’t read that article, they probably shouldn’t have done what they were doing in the first place. However, Facebook declined to make a comment towards it.
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