Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has refused to commit to the planned 2020 launch for the Libra cryptocurrency project.
Talking in interview with Nikkei on Thursday, Zuckerberg was asked about the expected date of the stablecoin's arrival, to which he replied:
Since the launch of Libra's white paper in June, regulators worldwide have been strident in their objections to the project, saying it poses not only a risk to financial stability and could be used in financial crimes, but it's also a threat to sovereign currencies. Notably, lawmakers in the U.S. and France have called for the project to be halted.
The Libra project had appeared to have been sticking to its guns on the 2020 target, with Libra Association managing director and COO Bertrand Perez saying in mid September that “We are firmly maintaining our launch schedule, between the end of the first half of the year and the end of 2020."
Zuckerberg also said that Facebook is now taking a more cautious approach when bringing forward projects like Libra that are " very sensitive for society," allowing a period for consultation and "working through the issues."
"That's a very different approach than what we might have taken five years ago," he said.
CoinDesk has reached out to the Libra Association, the non-profit set up to manage and develop the cryptocurrency, to ask if its plans had changed regarding the launch schedule. We will update this article if and when a reply is received.
In related news, David Marcus, CEO of Calibra (the entity building a digital wallet for the project), has been making the case for Libra as an improvement on traditional payment systems.
In a Medium post Wednesday, he wrote that Libra would be a "game-changer" for the public, arguing that "existing 'money networks' are closed and are not well interconnected."
They're also outdated, he said, explaining:
The need for intermediaries in traditional methods of payment also "means delays, and added cost at every step of the way," Marcus added.
Libra, on the other hand, will enable value to be moved around the world at in "near real-time" and at "an incredibly low cost."
Marcus further set out his big dream for Libra, saying:
This, he claimed, would reduce the costs of running payments systems, doing away with intermediaries and reducing "operational complexity and overhead." It would also make it easier for people to send and receive money and lower the "barrier of access to modern digital money and financial services."
Mark Zuckerberg image via Shutterstock
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, institutional digital assets exchange. Bullish group is majority owned by Block.one; both groups have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary, and an editorial committee, chaired by a former editor-in-chief of The Wall Street Journal, is being formed to support journalistic integrity.