Digital director of Facebook Libra explains the new programming language Move

Ben Maurer, the digital director of Calibra, gave a presentation on Move, the programming language of Facebook Libra, at the Stanford Blockchain conference on February 19. Move is intended to make the Blockchain behind the associated crypto currency more secure and suitable financial apps easier to program. To this end, Maurer explains:

 “Move is a smart contract programming language at the heart of Libra, designed to modernize the current financial system.”

According to Maurer, Libra offers both users and developers direct access to its own platform, which is intended to create a financial system that is as inclusive as possible for everyone:

 “With Libra, people no longer have to entrust their money to a middleman [banks, etc.]. Libra offers direct access to the platform and creates a much more inclusive system. Developers can also freely access the platform to develop apps and services for people who are excluded from today’s financial system.”


Why does Libra need a new programming language?

The objective is clear, but regardless of this, Maurer still had to explain why Facebook decided to build a completely new programming language to serve as the basis of the platform.

Although Move was developed from scratch, it was already announced in the project draft that the Facebook developers will use certain concepts of the blockchains of Bitcoin and Ethereum for this. During the conference, Maurer was unexpectedly asked how much Ethereum is in Move.

In his answer, he did not shy away from admitting that Move was inspired by existing solutions. Accordingly, many different ideas had been gathered during the development, but in the end, there were nevertheless clear differences between Move and other blockchains:

“We aim for financial inclusion and therefore specialize in building a financial system for those people who don’t have access to today’s financial system.”

“Designed to operate a price-stable currency”

According to the technical design of the Libra Blockchain, it is “designed to operate a price-stable crypto currency that can act as an efficient means of payment for billions of people around the world”.

As Maurer also explains, the Libra Blockchain is able to tolerate a so-called Byzantine error and nevertheless reach a consensus. So even if some nodes (junctions) communicate incorrectly, a transaction can still be confirmed he says:

“In order to decrypt data, Libra uses so-called hash trees, which allow current and already completed transactions to be viewed and verified by the system. This is a fundamental difference to most blockchains, as these blocks are usually chained in a linear fashion.”


How will Move do?

Although Move is still in its early stages, the community is curious to see how the programming language is doing. For example, developers of the Open Zeppelin startup recently found the first weaknesses in Move. However, they emphasize in this context that the corresponding errors were found before the block chain had even gone live.

 “There are some innovations in Move that could be really valuable. For example, the way the language handles coins and values is unique, I have never seen anything like it. Facebook is literally trying to wrap all aspects of financial systems into one formula. I’m curious to see how that works and if it’s accepted.”