France calls for EU-wide cryptocurrency rules amid Libra concerns

France calls for EU-wide cryptocurrency rules amid Libra concerns

France calls for EU-wide cryptocurrency rules amid Libra concerns

Libra, as now proposed by the tech giant, would raise concerns about market dominance, threaten the sovereignty of states, increase risks for consumers and business, and could even cause significant global financial disruption, Le Maire said at Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris.

The EU has yet to legislate on cryptocurrencies, instead leaving regulation to its member states.

While speaking at an OECD conference focused on crypto in Paris today, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire expressed "serious" concerns over Facebook Libra - a fiat-backed stablecoin the social media platform seeks to launch with the support of other major corporations - and revealed that his country would seek to block Facebook Libra from ever seeing the light of day in Europe.

"It would be a global currency, held by a single player, which has more than two billion users around the world". The company initially enlisted 27 partners to enable digital currency transactions and then brought in lobbyists after a broad backlash. Exchanges and money transmitters, however, still have to comply with bloc-wide European Union anti-money-laundering regulations.

Forms of cryptocurrency on the market, such as Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH), are decentralized and, therefore, do not have the financial backing of one main authority.

Elsewhere in his address, Le Maire urged, once more, for a "public digital currency", without specifying further.

When asked whether Libra would need a licence to operate in the bloc, a spokeswoman for the EU's executive branch, the European Commission, told Reuters: "With the publicly available information on Libra, it is now not possible to say which exact EU rules would apply".

Facebook's Libra cryptocurrency: A threat to national economies?

In Switzerland, Libra is applying for a payment service licence, although it could face rules that typically apply to banks, regulators in the non-EU Alpine state said on Wednesday.

"With the Libra project, the monetary sovereignty of [European] States is at stake", said Le Maire. He is, however, expected to discuss this issue with other ministers next month.

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