Facebook is planning to launch its Libra digital currency till next year, the executive seeing over this project informs Swiss newspaper NZZ.
Since the US tech company unveiled its plans in June, its proposed cryptocurrency has met with regulatory and political skepticism, with France and Germany pledging to block Libra from operating in Europe.
“The Facebook team is aiming to launch Libra next year,” Facebook’s David Marcus told NZZ in an interview published on Friday.”
The social media giant’s project, announced as it expands into e-commerce, is a high-profile attempt to drag cryptocurrencies into the mainstream.
Libra will be backed by a reserve of real-world assets, including bank deposits and short-term government securities, and overseen by a 28-member organization.
The structure is intended to foster trust and stabilize the price volatility that plagues cryptocurrencies and renders them impractical for commerce and payments.
Marcus said that the Libra coins are unlikely to become a means of payment for regular real-world transactions in countries like Switzerland, Germany or France, but would rather be used for cross-border payments or for settling very small sums.
“It’s unlikely in any case the people will pay for an espresso in Switzerland, Germany or France with Libra in the future.”
Regarding the authorities’ concerns, Marcus said it has centered on the project’s potential to destabilize the global financial system, interfere with sovereign monetary policy and harm privacy as well as its potential for use in money laundering.
Marcus said that the project would interfere with monetary policy since it would not be creating any new money and would not influence interest rates or yields.
Facebook would not be able to access data from its newly created subsidiary Calibra, he added. Facebook’s Calibra digital wallet, which will allow consumers and vendors to hold and transact the digital currency, would be made available everywhere that it is able to meet regulatory requirements, Marcus said.