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France says it will block Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency in Europe


Two months later since Facebook officially announced its planned launch of own cryptocurrency Libra, many jabs have been thrown at the company. Since the news broke out, Facebook has been on the run trying to iron out possible issues that the company’s cryptocurrency faces before its inception – regulation.

Europe for example, one of the world’s top watchdogs already aired out their dismays on the cryptocurrency. However, France has gone public, saying they will block Facebook’s Libra in Europe.

The French finance minister, Bruno Le Maire cited worries on the risks the cryptocurrency poses to consumers plus the government’s monetary sovereignty also lied on the frontline. Until these issues are addressed, Europe will be no home for Libra.

“I want to be absolutely clear: in these conditions, we cannot authorize the development of Libra on European soil,” the French finance minister said on Thursday.

Le Maire also added, “The monetary sovereignty of countries is at stake from a possible privatization of money … by a sole actor with more than 2 billion users on the planet.”

On Friday, Reuters reported that both France and Germany agreed to block Libra. In a joint statement, the two governments said, “no private entity can claim monetary power, which is inherent to the sovereignty of nations.”

Facebook announced the new crypto in June stating their sole aim of the new cryptocurrency is to provide low-cost financial services to more than a billion “unbanked” people globally. Unlike other cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, the currency is not decentralized.

Libra will be controlled and managed by an independent, Swiss not-for-profit organization dubbed The Libra Association led by several big companies in the world of technology and finance. Besides Libra will also be cushioned by a pool of currency assets to regulate the fluctuation of prices – a significant threat that faces cryptocurrencies.

Examples of companies that backed Facebook’s Libra include; PayPal, Visa, MasterCard, Uber, Stripe, and eBay, among others.

In Kenya, Central Bank Governor James Njoroge has also been quoted opposing the currency.

“We are still miles away from having solutions to those things (cryptocurrency). But I know there’s a lot of interest particularly with the new product that Facebook has recently announced,” Njoroge told Business Daily.

The Governor noted that the risks associated with Libra are phenomenal and must be addressed before going live.

“That actually is miles away from any regulation, including the Fed which just recently said Facebook’s crypto plans needs to be paused. The risks are phenomenal and we need to understand the risks better before making a statement,” he said

Additional reporting by Nixon Kanali

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Alvin Wanjala

Alvin is a freelance tech journalist. Covers gadgets, cybersecurity, and social media. Talk to me via email alvinwanjala[at]pm[dot]me

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