France’s finance minister has said that the European Union (EU) should create a common set of rules for the regulation of cryptocurrencies following the news that Facebook has decided to begin working on its cryptocurrency, Libra. In addition to tighter control, Bruno La Maire stated that the EU should cut the cost of international payments and that the bloc should consider its own public digital currency – he said these matters will be discussed with other ministers next month.
The EU wouldn't be the first area to develop a cryptocurrency of its own; in the middle of August, a representative from the People’s Bank of China announced that the country was finally readying for the launch of its national cryptocurrency, a project it has been working on for several years already.
While the EU entity has been, as a whole, very slow when it comes to cryptocurrencies, some of its component parts have not. Malta, the European Union’s smallest member, has already set up its own cryptocurrency framework to appeal to new start-ups, in fact, we reported over the summer that Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, recently joined Malta-based cryptocurrency firm, EFFORCE. During an announcement he made at the EFFORCE pre-launch at the Delta Summit, Wozniak praised the Maltese government for its interest in blockchain technology.
With Malta operating as such a big draw for cryptocurrency tech firms, it’s unclear how it would react to the EU trying to impose its own framework. In the EU, each member state has equal clout so if tiny Malta isn’t happy with what’s happening, it could easily veto any plans that the likes of France try to push through.
The bloc has until next year to sort out its plans because that’s when Facebook is targeting the launch of Libra for. We’ll learn more about the bloc’s progress next month after Le Maire sits down with other ministers to flesh out ideas.