France’s finance minister, Bruno Le Maire, has said today that Facebook will not be able to issue its Libra currency without a strong set of rules, similar to those that constrain the use of other currencies such as the dollar or the euro. Le Maire highlighted the need for rules in order to protect against money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
Flanked by journalists who were asking about Facebook’s upcoming cryptocurrency, Le Maire responded in the following manner:
“I would say this is first of all a question of sovereignty. You have states, the United States, France, Germany, Italy — all sovereign states with sovereign currencies: dollar, euro and so on and they are sticking to some very strong commitments, some very strong rules. We cannot accept a new currency having the exact same kind of power, without the same kind of rules, without the same kind of commitments and without the same kind of obligations.”
Finance ministers from the G7 countries have been meeting this week in France. Last week we reported that Japan was concerned about Libra and had set up a working group to look at Facebook’s currency and work out solutions to any issues that may arise. Aside from Japan and France showing concern, Germany’s finance minister, Olaf Scholz, claimed that Libra doesn’t seem to be well thought through and that the project simply cannot go ahead without legal and regulatory questions being resolved.
Facebook was originally intending for Libra to go live across its platforms at some point next year. If it were to be launched, it would significantly reduce fees for cross-border payments. Right now, though, many countries seem to be a bit worried about Libra so it could get delayed until these issues are resolved.