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France (Also) Opposes Facebook's Libra Cryptocurrency

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Facebook can add France to the list of countries opposing its Libra cryptocurrency. The Independent today reported that France's economy and finance minister, Bruno Le Maire, spoke against the social network's efforts during an OECD conference about cryptocurrencies.

Facebook announced Libra on June 18. It simultaneously launched a subsidiary, Calibra, to focus on financial services. The company's hope was to allow "people everywhere to live better lives" by using Libra to "reinvent money" and "transform the global economy."

But it didn't take long for the U.S. to object to those plans; it asked for Libra's development to be suspended in July. The reasons given for blocking Libra's development have varied. Some officials have said that Libra threatened the U.S. financial system--which almost sounds like the point, based on its mission statement--and would put its users at risk of being financially ruined by hackers. Others have said that Libra, along with other cryptocurrencies, pose a national security concern because they're harder to oversee.

The UK raised similar concerns about Facebook's attempts to create its own currency in July, and Le Maire echoed many of those sentiments at the OECD conference today. According to The Independent, he said, "I want to be absolutely clear: In these conditions, we cannot authorize the development of Libra on European soil." He was also said to have called Libra a threat to "monetary sovereignty."

Other countries have been a bit more lenient. Bloomberg reported yesterday that Switzerland wants to subject Libra to strict oversight, for example, and many regulators haven't discussed Libra at all. But there will clearly be a lot of scrutiny from many western countries, and both China and India have considered banning cryptocurrency outright, so many of the world's population centers are wary of Libra.

Facebook won't need to check Libra's horoscope to know the cryptocurrency won't have an easy future. But we doubt the company will give up anytime soon; the opportunity to further embed itself into daily life is worth tussling with a few bureaucrats over.