tuesday, 8 october of 2019

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The EU is questioning Facebook about risks from libra cryptocurrency

 The executive branch of the European Union has sent a questionnaire to Facebook and the Libra Association seeking clarification about their proposed digital currency called libra, an EU spokesperson confirmed to CNBC on Monday.

Fresh questions posed by the European Commission “go beyond” previous antitrust concerns it raised with the Libra Association, the spokesperson said.

The questionnaire has added another layer of scrutiny to the digital currency project that Facebook launched in June. Regulators, policymakers and politicians around the world have piled on criticism of the project since it was unveiled.

“The Libra Association welcomes this public policy dialogue and multi-stakeholder process that will help unleash economic and social potential of digital currencies,” said Dante Disparte, Head of Policy and Communications for the Libra Association, in a statement Monday.

Facebook did not respond to CNBC’s request for comment.

The latest round of questioning from the EU was first reported by the Financial Times on Sunday. The FT, citing a copy of the document, said the EU raised concerns over financial stability, money laundering and data privacy risks.

European countries like France have vowed to block libra’s development, saying it poses a risk to the sovereignty of nations’ currencies. Data privacy regulators in Europe have also expressed doubts over the combination of “vast reserves” of personal and financial information which would be gathered as part of the libra proposal.

Meanwhile, members of the House Financial Services Committee are demanding testimony by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on the company’s plans related to libra, CNBC reported last week.

PayPal announced Friday it was withdrawing from the Libra Association, a Swiss-based nonprofit overseeing the project. The payments firm said it would focus instead on its own efforts to “democratize access to financial services for underserved populations.”

The Libra Association maintains its goal is to create a low-cost, fast payments network that can “empower billions of financial underserved people.” The 27 founding members of the association, which includes Facebook as well as other tech firms like Uber and Spotify, are scheduled to meet next week in Geneva, Switzerland.

In a tweet Friday, the Libra Association said 1,500 entities have “indicated enthusiastic interest” to participate in the project.

(Published by CNBC, October 8, 2019)
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