Facebook cryptocurrency 'rips off' startup's logo

Facebook’s new cryptocurrency project has been accused of “ripping off” a small company’s logo.

The technology giant unveiled the Libra cryptocurrency earlier this week, alongside a subsidiary called Calibra that will oversee the project.

Facebook claims that Libra will reinvent the global financial system by offering services to the world’s unbanked, while also allowing people to spend and receive money through WhatsApp, Messenger and other Facebook-owned apps.

The project has already come under scrutiny, with one cryptocurrency expert describing it as “the most invasive and dangerous form of surveillance“ that Facebook has ever conceived.

Criticism is now being levelled at Facebook from a fintech startup called Current, which has pointed out striking similarities between its logo and that of Calibra.

Current CEO Stuart Sopp said the San Francisco-based firm Character was used to design both logos.

“This is a funny way to try and create trust in a new global financial system – by ripping off another fintech firm,” Mr Sopp told CNBC.

“Facebook has all the money and resources in the world. If they truly wanted to make banking more inclusive and fair, they should’ve come up with their own ideas and branding, like we have.”

The startup tweeted an image of both logos side by side, together with the text: “This is what happens when you only have one crayon left.”

A spokesperson for Facebook declined to comment and Character did not respond to requests.

With 45 employees and 350,000 accounts, Current is a fraction of the size of Facebook, which counts tens of thousands employees and more than two billion users around the world.

“We put six months of hard work into this with that design firm, which they basically reused for Facebook without changing much,” Mr Sopp said.

“Facebook is a big company that should have done their due diligence.”

The Current CEO said the startup is in talks with lawyers about a potential trademark infringement case.