Just as many anticipated, Libra, Facebook’s seminal crypto project, launched its white paper on Tuesday. In it, it confirmed reports that Visa, Mastercard, Uber, and other corporate giants were getting involved.
While many in the cryptocurrency community, even staunch Bitcoin maximalists took the news in stride, regulators from France to the United States quickly expressed their distaste.
Why Do Regulators Hate Libra?
Mere hours, maybe minutes after the press embargo broke on Facebook Libra, lawmakers were already commenting on the news. Speaking to an audience in Portugal, Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of England, pledged to scrutinize the cryptocurrency.
First reported by Bloomberg, the regulator said that the Group of Seven (G7), the largest economies on Earth, will ensure that Libra abides by the “highest standards of regulation”. Although he didn’t confirm that action is coming down the pipeline, he did state that for anything financial product that becomes “instantly systemic”, his organization and others cannot keep an “open door” approach.
This could imply that the Bank of England and similar organizations feel threatened by Libra.
Carney’s comments come shortly after the French Finance Minister came out to vehemently deny the viability of Libra. In an interview with a European radio station, Bruno Le Maire stated that Libra, under no jurisdiction, should “become a sovereign currency.”
Le Maire added that he is worried about how this new digital asset can be used to harvest data, launder money, and finance terrorism:
“This money will allow this company to assemble even more data, which only increases our determination to regulate the internet giants.”
German Parliament member Markus Ferber shortly followed suit, claiming that he is worried that with over two billion active users, Facebook could become a pseudo shadow bank.
And across the pond, United States Representative Maxine Waters has called for Facebook to halt Libra in its tracks. She, like her peers over in Europe, expressed the sentiment that Libra could become a threat about online privacy.
Waters added that she is also concerned about “national security concerns, cybersecurity risks, and trading risks that are posed by cryptocurrencies,” citing Facebook’s “troubled past”.
No explicit action has been taken by any nation yet, but it sure seems like a Libra crackdown is already on the table.
Not All Lawmakers Are Up in Arms
Although most regulators and governmental representatives seem hostile towards Libra, there are some embracing the crypto initiative with open arms.
A representative of Florida’s 9th district, Darren Soto, recently took to Twitter to laud Facebook’s cryptocurrency for its ingenuity and potential to revolutionize finance. He claimed that Libra has the “potential” to be a big step forward when it comes to inclusive, borderless financial infrastructure. He did, however, call for the protection of consumers and privacy, but then subsequently lauded blockchain technologies.
Facebook's #Libra has potential to be a big step forward towards a more global and inclusive financial infrastructure, ultimately benefiting our society & economy. Congress must protect consumers and privacy, while promoting innovation for blockchain! https://t.co/xIGM9lUFF2
— US Rep. Darren Soto (@RepDarrenSoto) June 18, 2019
Soto notably backed the sentiment that cryptocurrencies shouldn’t be under scrutiny from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) earlier this year. In an interview with Cheddar, the Democrat explained that Bitcoin and its ilk are best left for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which currently resides over only BTC and ETH futures. The Congressman has also been a staunch proponent of digital assets in Washington. In December, he brought forth two bills regarding cryptocurrency, which would push government agencies to try and accommodate the crypto industry.
As far as Blockonomi can see, he is currently the only government official, from the United States no less, to have expressed pure excitement for Libra. But, as time goes on, this could easily change.