The European Union wishes to investigate Libra, Facebook’s cryptocurrency, to determine whether it does not violate the anti-competitive rules in force in Europe. The information was disclosed on August 20, 2019, by Bloomberg. More specifically, the EU is concerned that trade between the members of the Libra Association. It has some 30 operators, payment institutions and technology giants. Libra could affect the respective markets of these various players by giving them a definite competitive advantage.
Bloomberg does not give more details on the timing of the survey. However, it takes the opportunity to point out that the digital money project is far from being unanimously accepted, both by traditional banking players and government institutions. In parallel to this revelation, the Swiss newspaper NZZ am Sonntag revealed on the same day that a delegation of six American deputies was currently in Geneva, Libra’s headquarters. They were there to meet the Federal Data Protection and Information Commissioner, Adrian Lobsiger.
A project criticized even in the United States
Since the announcement of the launch of Libra on June 18, many industry experts have criticized Libra, both functionally and organizationally. One of the recurring criticisms of the social network concerns the ill-defined outlines of the project. A bias that does not allow the various authorities to prepare for Libra’s arrival truly.
For example, in the United States, Maxine Waters (federal representative on the House Financial Services Committee) asked Facebook to suspend the project until the regulator had reviewed it. In early July, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell pointed out that Libra raised “many serious concerns about privacy, money laundering, consumer protection, and financial stability.” A vision also shared by Steven Mnuchin, Secretary of the Treasury of the United States.
Libra team’s hearing did not go that well!
President Donald Trump questioned the reliability of cryptocurrencies. He is rarely on the same wavelength as his political opponents. Democratic MPs have introduced a bill to prevent technology companies from offering banking and financial services. David Marcus, former PayPal and Libra’s boss, has been heard several times by the congress and has so far failed to dispel doubts.
Libra is also attracting criticism in Europe. Bruno Le Maire, the French Minister of Economy and Finance, considered that “the conditions were not met for a launch.” The G7 Finance Ministers asked the European Central Bank to set up a working group on crypto money. Beyond the various doubts expressed by some and others, the fears are also linked to the potential of crypto money made on Facebook. With its 2.4 billion users worldwide, the company could seriously shake up the financial and capital markets by creating a parallel commercial network.