According to sources familiar with the matter who spoke to Reuters, Japan has begun to investigate the ramifications of Facebook’s upcoming Libra cryptocurrency which is scheduled to launch next year. The officials will be looking into what effect it could have on the country’s monetary policy and financial regulation in anticipation of the upcoming G7 finance ministers meeting which will be held in France next week.
The working group currently consists of representatives from the Bank of Japan, the Ministry of Finance, and the Financial Services Agency. The three entities met for the first time this week and in coming sessions will work on developing policies to deal with Libra with respect to regulation, monetary policy, tax, and payment settlements.
According to Reuters, this year's G7 finance ministers meeting will be particularly focused on digital currencies now that they’re beginning to enter the mainstream. France and Japan are especially keen to find out how central banks from around the world can make sure that currencies like Libra are properly regulated. Japan hopes to expand its current working group to involve regulators from other countries to come up with coherent policies.
Facebook announced its Libra cryptocurrency last month. The service will be available from within Facebook Messenger as well as WhatsApp, making it immediately available to billions of users. Due to the nature of the technology, Libra will allow users to send money to contacts anywhere in the world for little to no cost and could really shake up things such as remittance services which charge a fee to send money.