- Libra would substitute itself as a national currency, Bruno Le Maire
- What’s the point of combating money laundering then? he says
- However, Libra welcomes the scrutiny
While Facebook (FB) is planning to acquire Swiss payment system license for Libra, France is not at all interested in letting its cryptocurrency project — expected to launch in 2020 — get off the ground.
France is planning to block its development in Europe, citing fears of the potential for abuse of market dominance and systemic financial risks.
Libra would put “government sovereignty under threat”, Le Maire
French finance minister Bruno le Maire warned yet again that the digital currency would undermine the “government sovereignty,” as such it cannot authorize its use.
“All these concerns about Libra are serious. I therefore want to say with plenty of clarity: in these conditions we cannot authorize the development of Libra on European soil,”
Le Maire said while speaking at an OECD event on Thursday.
“It would be a global currency, held by a single player, which has more than two billion users around the world. The monetary sovereignty of states is under threat.”
Le Maire further said that Libra would “substitute itself as a national currency,” putting a question on the independence of states that could further lead to significant financial disruption.
What’s the Point of Combating Money Laundering Then? He Says
He also said it doesn’t make sense of devoting “so much effort” to combat money laundering and terrorist financing for so many years if the authorities are going to let a digital currency like Libra “completely escape” those very regulatory efforts.
Le Maire actually wants the financial sector, especially banks to respond to the Libra proposals and make work to improve the quality of their international payment systems and reduce the cost of cross-border transfers.
He said he is also awaiting proposal for a public digital currency from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (ORCD) in the coming months.
However, Libra Welcomes the Scrutiny
Libra is a stablecoin that is backed by a basket of fiat currencies. It also has a governing organization, Libra Association that consists of other industry giants including technology companies Uber, Vodafone, Spotify, and payments companies like Mastercard and Visa.
Le Maire’s comments about Libra isn’t anything new, rather they echo those of other top officials.
However, Dante Disparte, head of policy and communications for the Libra Association welcomes the scrutiny stating, the cryptocurrency has become “the world's most scrutinised fintech effort.”
“We welcome this scrutiny and have deliberately designed a long launch runway to have these conversations, educate stakeholders and incorporate their feedback in our design,”
He further said members are “committed to working with regulatory authorities to achieve a safe, transparent, and consumer-focused implementation of the Libra project,” and that being an emerging technology, policymakers need to carefully consider how blockchain technology’s applications fit into their financial system policies.