Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency poses a threat to “monetary sovereignty”

France has announced that it will block the development of Facebook’s Libra’s cryptocurrency in Europe. 

The French Economy and Finance Minister, Bruno Le Maire said at an OECD conference on cryptocurrencies: “I want to be absolutely clear: In these conditions, we cannot authorise the development of Libra on European soil”

Earlier this year Facebook announced the digital currency Libra, which is set to launch early 2020. It has been described as a “globally, digitally native, reserve-backed cryptocurrency built on the foundation of blockchain technology.” 

Libra will allow people that may not necessarily have a bank account to use it as a method of payment and a way to transfer money. Libra will not be completely run by Facebook, but rather governed by a non-profit entity with 27 other partners to oversee it. 

French officials have publicly spoken about the danger Libra poses, with Le Maire adding: “The monetary sovereignty of countries is at stake from a possible privatisation of money…by a sole actor with more than 2 billion users on the planet.”

Le Maire said that the cryptocurrency would “substitute itself as a national currency” thus calling into question the independence of states.  Libra could aide people in abandoning national currencies during times of crisis, thus complicating government efforts to manage the economy. 

“I don’t see why we should dedicate so much effort to combating money laundering and terrorist financing for so many years to see a digital currency like Libra completely escape those regulatory efforts.”

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