France’s Bruno Le Maire has reportedly warned that the country will block the development of Facebook’s in-house cryptocurrency, Libra, in Europe — citing threats to the “monetary sovereignty” of the continent’s governments.
The Minister of the Economy and Finance stated today at the opening of an OECD conference on cryptocurrencies:
I want to be absolutely clear: in these conditions, we cannot authorize the development of Libra on European soil.
Facebook’s self-labeled cryptocurrency is slated for launch sometime next year after being first announced this past June.
Many view Libra not so much as a competitor to decentralized cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin but rather to central bank-issued currencies — a fact not lost on governments the world over.
In the United States, a Congressional hearing was held in July that saw Facebook’s cryptocurrency viciously attacked by various senators — including Senator Sherrod Brown and Senator Martha McSally, with the former claiming that Facebook “doesn’t deserve our trust” following a slew of privacy-related scandals.
Russia has taken a calmer approach to Libra thus far, with reports claiming that regulators in the country plan on treating it like any other digital currency.
China, meanwhile, has reportedly kicked plans for its own state-issued cryptocurrency into high gear in an effort to get in front of Facebook’s Libra. The People’s Bank of China’s deputy director recently claimed the country’s cryptocurrency will likely be used with WeChat and Alipay.
France has long been skeptical of allowing Facebook to issue its own centralized private currency in the European Union, so today’s statement does not come as a surprise.
Le Maire has been one of the most outspoken critics of Libra since it was first announced — repeatedly claiming that the private company behind it is not realistically capable of adhering to the strict standards and responsibilities of central banks and governments.