Libra, the cryptocurrency initiated by Facebook, worries states. Its launch was prepared without consultation with the regulatory authorities.
Unveiled this Tuesday with partners as prestigious as Visa, Mastercard, Paypal, Vodafone, Iliad or Uber, Libra immediately suffered criticism from several governments.
Thus, in France, Bruno Le Maire valued that “Facebook is creating an instrument of transaction, why not. On the other hand, that it becomes a sovereign currency, there can be no question of it.
The Minister of the Economy went further by announcing that he had requested a report on the subject for next month from the central banks of the seven member countries of the G7.
In the United States, the president of the Committee on Financial Services of the House of Representatives, Democrat Maxine Waters, has called for a moratorium on this launch scheduled for early 2020. She offers Facebook leaders to explain themselves to Congress.
“With the announcement of the creation of a cryptocurrency, Facebook continues its uncontrolled expansion and extends its reach over the lives of its users,” she said in a statement quoted by Reuters.
For his part, Kevin Weil, a Facebook executive in charge of Libra, said Facebook hopes it can bring global regulators around the table by publicizing its plan.
For Jorn Lambert, executive vice president in charge of digital solutions at Mastercard, the talk is about procrastination. “If this project encounters too many regulatory hurdles, we might not launch it,” he said.
In Switzerland, the Federal Financial Market Supervisory Authority, commonly known as FINMA, confirmed to Reuters it was in contact with Libra but declined to say whether the project was in the process of obtaining specific regulatory clearances.
Remember that Facebook’s cryptocurrency is made up of two entities.
On the one hand, there is the Libra Association, based in Geneva for the marketing and partnerships part. On the other, there is Calibra, a subsidiary that will offer digital wallets for saving, sending and spending Libras by logging into Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.
In an article of the Express, Bruno Dalles, director of Tracfin, the anti-money laundering unit of the Ministry of the Economy, is worried: “With this product supposed to allow international fund transfers without suffering from variations in exchange rates, users risk the capture of their personal financial data “.
And to deplore the launch of this initiative without any regulatory measures with the authorities in charge of these issues. “Who is going to regulate Facebook’s cryptocurrency?” he asks. “The ball is in Facebook’s court, it’s up to them to contact Tracfin and the ACPR [Autorité de contrôle prudentiel et de résolution] in order to organize the necessary regulation ”