Online banking app Current claims Facebook has ripped off its logo for their recently announced crypto subsidiary Calibra.
Founder and CEO of the online banking company Current shared the logo of his company and the logo of Facebook’s latest subsidiary Calibra on his Twitter account yesterday with the message “This is what happens when you only have 1 crayon left.”
The resemblance between the two companies’ logos is undeniable. A tilde sign inside a circle featured on both, with color being the only differentiating factor. Making matters worse is the fact that their names are similar too.
Earlier this week, Facebook announced that it was launching a new global cryptocurrency called Libra next year, with the goal of providing safe transactions with minimal fees. Together with the currency, Facebook will roll out an interoperable third-party wallet app Calibra, which will be used for storing and spending the digital currency. Calibra will be available on Messenger, Whatsapp and as a stand-alone app.
Since Libra’s logo consists of three parallel tilde signs, it makes sense that the Calibra logo shares a similar aesthetic. However, the resemblance with Current’s logo is uncanny and confusing.
Stuart Sopp, former Wall Street trader who founded the online bank Current in 2017, says he was shocked to see the logo of Facebook’s subsidiary company.
Initially thinking he was being pranked, Sopp lawyered up as soon as he realized the logo was no joke. With the help of Goodwin Procter law firm, he set out to determine whether he has a trademark or patent infringement case against Facebook.
Both Current and Calibra used a San Francisco-based design firm called Character to come up with their visual branding solution. The design company couldn’t be reached for comment.
“We put six months of hard work into this with that design firm, which they basically reused for Facebook without changing much,” Sopp told CNBC. “Facebook is a big company that should have done their due diligence on this.”
Current started as an app geared toward teenagers and parents, offering modern day allowance solutions. Since entering the market in 2017, it has expanded its array of services. Its most recent product – a feeless checking account – was launched earlier this year.
Sopp says his motivation for creating the Current app was to disrupt the existing financial system, which is failing to meet the needs of many people. Zuckerberg has a similar plan but on a much larger scale. Servicing only 350,000 accounts and employing 45 people, Current poses no threat to Facebook’s ambitious crypto-goals.
“This is a funny way to try and create trust in a new global financial system – by ripping off another fintech firm,” Sopp said in a phone interview. “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.”
Photo credit: Current’s Twitter account, June 19, 2019