Did Facebook swipe its Calibra logo from a challenger bank?

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Facebook is under fire for the logo of its recently unveiled cryptocurrency unit, which bears striking similarities to one used by a challenger bank.

Stuart Sopp, the CEO of Current, said in an interview that he was at a conference when someone forwarded him a picture of Facebook's Calibra logo. It looked almost exactly like Current's logo, a tilde accent mark inside a circle.

“I thought it was a joke initially,” Sopp said. “I was like, that's really funny. What's the real logo?"

Sopp also argued that the messaging around Libra, with its emphasis on banking the underbanked, echoed Current's mission of financial inclusion.

Current is a New York challenger bank that started out offering banking for teens but now offers accounts to people up to 35 years old. It offers early wage access and savings tools to people living paycheck to paycheck. It has 400,000 users.

Calibra is a Facebook subsidiary announced this week. It will provide financial services to let people access and participate in the Libra network, which is expected to launch in 2020.

Sopp claims that Character, a design firm Current used in 2016 to create its logo, is also taking credit for Facebook’s new Calibra logo. Neither Facebook or Character responded to a request for comment.

“I angrily tweeted several times at Facebook, the designer and others on Twitter,” Sopp said. “Facebook came out and rephrased the vision of Current and sort of stole our logo and some of our brand in a very lazy way. Either the design firm did it on purpose or recycled the design they made for us.”

Current’s lawyers have reached out to the design firm and Facebook. Current has not received a response. Sopp said he doesn’t want his customers to confuse Current’s product with a cryptocurrency platform that may not work.

“Whether that was intentional or not from Facebook, they are an extremely wealthy tech company that should know better and do more due diligence, especially on a project so large as this,” Sopp said.

Current provides access to paychecks two to four days early.

“When we get those files from the employers, where most banks wait two to four days for payroll checks to settle, we credit that instantaneously because the chances of fraud from those employers are very, very low and we're not liable for that," Sopp said.

Current also offers budgeting and savings tools. It provides an Insights feature, through which account holders gain better control and transparency over how they spend their money.

Deposits are held at two partner banks: Choice Financial in North Dakota and NCB in New York. Current charges $5 for a premium account that includes the early wage access and is centered around the changing nature of work and around the gig economy.

“The majority of our users are 27 years old and working at Best Buy or Walmart, Uber or Lyft,” Sopp said. The company is getting many customers in Chicago, Houston and Los Angeles.

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Digital currencies Branding Disruptors Cryptocurrencies Digital payments Facebook
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