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No Room For Facebook's Libra In Europe: France

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France said on Thursday that it wont allow Facebook to launch its upcoming Libra cryptocurrency project in Europe citing a possible threat it may pose to the monetary sovereignty of governments in the continent.

Addressing a conference on cryptocurrencies organized by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in Paris, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said Libra posed financial risks and could be open to abuse.

"The monetary sovereignty of countries is at risk from a possible privatization of money by a sole actor with more than 2 billion users on the planet," Le Maire said.

"This eventual privatization of money contains risks of abuse of dominant position, risks to sovereignty and risks for consumers and for companies," the minister added.

He asked why new technologies have to be guided by a libertarian ideology that rejects all regulations and questions the relevance of governments.

"I want to be absolutely clear: in these conditions, we cannot authorize the development of Libra on European soil," he told the conference.

Le Maire said he discussed the creation of a "public digital currency" under the supervision of international financial institutions with the European Central Bank President Mario Draghi and his incoming successor Christine Lagarde.

France's opposition to Libra is the latest setback to Facebook, which acknowledged in July that it is facing an uphill battle in implementing its cryptocurrency initiative.

Under the project Libra, the social media giant had announced plans to launch a cryptocurrency-based payments system in a dozen countries by the first quarter of 2020 and start trials by the end of this year.

But in its second quarterly report filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Facebook said, "there can be no assurance that Libra or our associated products and services will be made available in a timely manner, or at all."

The company pointed out that it is facing multiple hurdles regarding regulating a new technology with no clear cut rules in the U.S. and other countries.

Facebook formed a subsidiary called Calibra to run the Libra network, powered by blockchain technology.

As a first step, Calibra planned to introduce a digital wallet for Libra, that can be used to buy goods and services online and send money.

Facebook has partnered with 28 companies, including financial services giant Mastercard and PayPal Holdings, tech giants Uber Technologies and Spotify Technology, as well as blockchain companies like Coinbase for the digital wallet service.

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