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European Central Bank Demands Regulation Before Libra Can Be Launched

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July 22, 2019 | 

966 Views | 

Darryn Pollock | 

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The European Central Bank (ECB) is one of a growing chorus of voices calling for complete global regulation of Facebook's proposed cryptocurrency - Libra. The Stablecoin project from the social media giant caused much excitement when it was announced, but is now facing a backlash from those in charge of monetary policy.

Benoit Coeure, a board member of the European Central Bank, reiterated that there would be no chance for Libra to launch without the go-ahead from global financial regulators. 

Speaking at the G7 summit in Chantilly, France, on behalf of the European Central Bank, Coeure made it clear that Libra must work flawlessly on its launch, or not launch at all.

Robust and resilient

When Facebook announced Libra, it was made clear that they are still seeking regulatory confirmation. However, that task has only been magnified in the past few weeks. Being a global currency, and a blockchain-based one makes the control of this monetary system that much harder.

It is because of these difficulties that the ECB has made it clear that if this project is to launch, there can be no fixing it along the way.

"You've got to be safe, robust, and resilient from day one. It's not a learning process: either it works, or it doesn't."

Coeure also alluded to the fact that Facebook has had its issues with privacy before and that guaranteeing the protection of user privacy and ownership rights may require lengthy discussion by regulators in the future.

"Down the road, we might find that there are gaps or inconsistencies that would require a prolonged discussion by regulators on how to do it differently. Authorities are not going to let any such projects happen before we have answers to our questions, and before we have the right regulatory framework."

Time for banks to adopt

Despite the furor and concern over Facebook's decision to offer a financial service, the response from the banks has not been anti-cryptocurrency. Many banks have admitted the sharp rise and adoption of digital assets have caused them to reassess their offerings. 

Not only are banks falling behind in what customers demand, the fact that there is a new monetary system that is decentralized means that a massive chunk of regulation and control is missing from the current system.

"All these projects are a rather useful wake-up call for regulators and public authorities, as they encourage us to raise several questions and might make us improve the way we do things," Coeure added.

With all the uproar from regulators over Libra, and by extension cryptocurrencies, there has never been the decision to ban or stop such projects. Instead, the calls are for proper regulation and control of these new financial assets. 

It speaks of a system willing to adapt, but also shows their shortcomings are apparent in the speed in which they can match the fast-moving technology. 

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