Banning the Facebook-led virtual currency would hurt the EU, Libra executive says. Libra has taken a beating from politicians — but it is not down and out. Policymakers are afraid that Libra´s direct route to 2.4 billion Facebook users could come to rival sovereign currencies and undermine the global monetary system.
The backlash has led to talk of an outright ban in Europe, while some early backers, like card companies Mastercard and Visa, have pulled out of the project.
The setbacks have knocked the Libra Association off its planned timeline to introduce the stablecoin — so called because it is designed to limit price fluctuations — in the first half of 2020.
“We've made a commitment not to launch the project anywhere in the world until such time as it has achieved sort of a satisfactory regime around regulations and compliance and money control and all of these issues,” Dante Disparte, head of policy and communications for the Libra Association, said in an interview in December.
He said the “ambition” is still to go live in 2020 but the organization cannot control the speed it takes to win licenses.
While the timeline may have slipped, Disparte does not believe that the initiative could fail entirely, for instance if it was blocked in the European Union.
Central bankers are so concerned that they are mooting or accelerating their own digital currencies, like a digital euro or a digital dollar, to defend their money before Libra gets off the ground.
But Libra has a response: You need us. Disparte said Libra wants to be “interoperable” with central bank digital currencies, serving as their link to consumers.
The reserve is another issue for wary policymakers. Under the Libra Association’s plan, every Libra in circulation will be matched with existing currency to keep its price in check.
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