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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The team behind the Facebook-backed Libra digital currency effort announced several key changes scaling back what once seen as a monetary instrument that could be used to rival and subvert national currencies.

Why it matters: The moves are designed to address concerns from governments and others, but also represent a further reining in of ambitions for the initiative, which launched with great fanfare last year.

Among the changes:

  • The Libra Organization will move to develop several individual digital "stablecoins" each tied to a different official currency. It will still develop a multicurrency coin, but that will be tied to the other single-currency coins rather than a basket of national currencies.
  • It's looking a lot less blockchain-y. Instead of the permissionless system originally envisioned, the Libra organization said it is exploring ways "to offer new entrants the ability to compete for the provision of core network services and participate in the governance of the Libra network while ensuring the Association's ability to meet regulatory expectations."
  • Facebook plans a more phased rollout.

Between the lines: The Libra effort has been seen as a way for Facebook to expand the ways it makes money as the company plots a shift toward private, encrypted messaging, which could limit advertising potential.

Go deeper: Don't bother worrying about Libra

Go deeper

4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Inhofe loudly sets Trump straight on defense bill

Sen. Jim Inhofe speaks with reporters in the Capitol last month. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Senator Jim Inhofe told President Trump today he'll likely fail to get two big wishes in pending defense spending legislation, bellowing into his cellphone: "This is the only chance to get our bill passed," a source who overheard part of their conversation tells Axios.

Why it matters: Republicans are ready to test whether Trump's threats of vetoing the bill, which has passed every year for more than half a century, are empty.

Conspiracy theories blow back on Trump's White House

Sidney Powell. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

President Trump has rarely met a conspiracy theory he doesn't like, but he and other Republicans now worry the wild tales told by lawyers Sidney Powell and Lin Wood may cost them in Georgia's Senate special elections.

Why it matters: The two are telling Georgians not to vote for Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler because of a bizarre, baseless and potentially self-defeating theory: It's not worth voting because the Chinese Communist Party has rigged the voting machines.

4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Bolton lauds Barr for standing up to Trump

John Bolton. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

John Bolton says Attorney General Bill Barr has done more to undercut President Trump's baseless assertions about Democrats stealing the election than most Senate Republicans by saying publicly that the Justice Department has yet to see widespread fraud that could change the election's outcome.

What he's saying: “He stood up and did the right thing," Bolton said in a Wednesday phone interview.