Binance launches Venus, which it calls an ‘independent, regional version’ of Facebook’s Libra

Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, announced today that it will launch an open blockchain project called Venus to develop regional stablecoins pegged to fiat currencies (or traditional currencies usually issued and backed by a government).

Based in Malta, Binance launched its decentralized trading service, Binance Chain, earlier this year, and since then has issued stablecoins pegged to Bitcoin and the British pound.

In its English-language announcement, Binance said Venus’ goal is “to empower developed and developing countries to spur new currencies,” but did not mention Libra, Facebook’s cryptocurrency project. In the Chinese-language version of its announcement, however, Binance went into more detail, stating that Venus is intended to be an “independent and autonomous, regional version of Libra.”

While Libra’s goal is to create a global digital currency that allows people to avoid the fees associated with credit cards and remittance services, Binance says Venus’ objective is to enable developing countries to “have more financial autonomy” and “protect their financial security” by helping them create new digital currencies.

But on Twitter, Binance founder and CEO Changpeng Zhao clarified that the exchange is not positioning Venus as a rival to Libra. In response to a tweet that said “Binance is ready to dominate the world by launching Project ‘Venus’ and rival Facebook’s Libra by developing localized stablecoins worldwide,” Zhao wrote “Pushing adoption, yes. Domination, no. Always happy to co-exist. In fact, this should help Libra, if you think about it. Will leave it at that.”

Facebook is partnering with 27 companies to launch Libra, including PayPal, Visa, Coinbase, Uber and Mastercard, but Binance has not announced partners for Venus yet. Instead, the company’s announcement said it is “looking to create new alliances and partnerships with governments, corporations, technology companies and other cryptocurrency companies and projects involved in the larger blockchain ecosystem, to empower developed and developing countries to spur new currencies.”