The Case of Diem: A Distributed Ledger Technology-based Alternative Financial Infrastructure Built by a Centralised Multisided Platform

Golnaz Abdollahi Jafari, Malte-Christian Gruber
2021 Zenodo  
In pursuing its declared mission "to enable a simple global currency and financial infrastructure with a safe, secure and compliant payment system that empowers billions of people," Diem encounters apparent resistance from various social fields and politics. On the one hand, many critics recognise dangers to state currency sovereignty and the stability of the financial system; on the other hand, they fear negative developments regarding money laundering and the financing of terrorism. In
more » ... n, there are considerable concerns about an ever deeper erosion of privacy, consumer and data protection, which reaches a new dimension by linking such world currencies with already existing social networks governed and controlled by private entities. Under these circumstances, the chance of success of the Diem project clearly depends on the extent to which the aforementioned concerns can be dispelled and whether public trust can be established. Together with an overview of the developments of the Diem project since the inception of the underlying idea, the authors highlight the actors and their respective roles in an infrastructure primarily run and operated on distributed ledger technology (DLT), with computer nodes distributed across different jurisdictions. Moreover, it is argued that the level of control by end users over their digital representations and online footprints remains untested in the context of a worldwide digital financial infrastructure as proposed by Diem. The paper further elaborates and puts data protection and privacy of end users under scrutiny, outlining the need for a self-sovereign identity (SSI) management system in order to address the risks associated with correlation and profiling of individuals concerning their behaviour in payment systems.
doi:10.5281/zenodo.5833740 fatcat:dvg4xmuu2rc3lbeu5cwihhtniq