Updated with a statement from the Libra Association (Sept. 13, 07:05 UTC).
The French finance minister has said the nation plans to block Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency in the EU over concerns that it poses a threat to the sovereignty of national currencies.
According to The Independent newspaper on Thursday, Bruno Le Maire, Economy and Finance Minister of France, said:
“I want to be absolutely clear: In these conditions, we cannot authorize the development of Libra on European soil.”
Le Maire was speaking at the opening of an OECD conference on blockchain and cryptocurrencies in Paris, France.
The Telegraph, meanwhile, adds that Le Maire said “It would be a global currency, held by a single player, which has more than two billion users around the world. The monetary sovereignty of states is under states is under threat.”
Le Maire reportedly expressed concerns that Libra may “substitute itself as a national currency” and potentially cause financial disruption.
“I don’t see why we should dedicate so much effort to combating money laundering and terrorist financing for so many years to see a digital currency like Libra completely escape those regulatory efforts,” he said.
The Libra Association told CoinDesk:
“The comments today from France’s economy and finance minister further underscore the importance of our ongoing work with regulatory bodies and leadership around the world. In the nearly three months since the intent to launch the Libra project was announced, we have become the world’s most scrutinized fintech effort. We welcome this scrutiny and have deliberately designed a long launch runway to have these conversations, educate stakeholders and incorporate their feedback in our design. The Libra Association and its members are committed to working with regulatory authorities to achieve a safe, transparent, and consumer-focused implementation of the Libra project. We recognize that blockchain is an emerging technology, and that policymakers must carefully consider how its applications fit into their financial system policies.”
A CNBC report indicated that Le Maire also said today that he’s discussed the creation of a “public digital currency” with outgoing European Central Bank president Mario Draghi and Christine Lagarde, who will take over his position later this year.
CoinDesk has reached out to the Libra Association for comment and will update this breaking story if more information is received.
Bruno Le Maire image via Shutterstock