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EU finance ministers threaten to block European launch of Libra

EU finance ministers have joined forces to warn that Facebook must not launch its Libra cryptocurrency in Europe until it has addressed outstanding regulatory concerns about the project.

Libra has faced fierce criticism on both sides of the Atlantic since it was announced earlier this year, leading a number of partners, including Visa, Mastercard and eBay, to withdraw their support for the digital coin.

In a statement issued on Thursday, the EU’s finance ministers said: “No global stablecoin arrangement should begin operation in the European Union until the legal, regulatory and oversight challenges and risks have been adequately identified and addressed.”

In a letter signed by seven of the world’s most powerful privacy regulators earlier this year, Facebook and its 28 partners were urged to disclose their efforts to protect Libra users’ data.

As NS Tech reported at the time, critics of the project have also expressed concerns about money laundering, Facebook’s suitability as a processor of financial data, and the impact Libra could have on the stability of fiat currencies, especially those in the developing world.

Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England, has warned that Libra could have a systemic impact on the global economy: “You have to be on all the time, you can’t have teething issues, you can’t have people losing money out of their wallets. The standards are in a different zip code, to use the American term, to the standards in other technologies.’’