Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency has run into another worrying block. Less than a month after the EU opened up an antitrust investigation into the project, officials in France have announced that they should ban Libra on European soil.
France has said it will block the development of Facebook’s Libra in Europe, dealing the cryptocurrency a fresh blow. The French finance minister, Bruno Le Maire, said plans for Libra should be facing a ban until concerns over consumer risk and governments’ monetary sovereignty were addressed.
Libra, unveiled in June, will allow people to move money from their smartphone into a digital “wallet”. It’s been met with heavy criticism, with one cyber security expert branding the cryptocurrency “Facebook’s most invasive and dangerous form of surveillance yet”.
The Telegraph, meanwhile, adds that Le Maire said “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 reportedly expressed concerns that Libra may “substitute itself as a national currency” and potentially cause financial disruption.
“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,” he said.
The European Commission has responded to Mr. Le Maire’s announcement, saying it would look at all aspects of Libra to understand issues ranging from tax concerns to worries over data privacy.
Dante Disparte, the head of policy and communications at the Libra Association, the non-profit organisation developing the currency, said Le Maire’s comments underscored the importance of the project’s backers working together with regulators around the world.
He said the association wanted to work with regulators to achieve a “safe, transparent and consumer-focused implementation of the Libra project”. It looks like Facebook will face an uphill battle that is only going to become harder with all the antitrust scrutiny around its business.