Libra may have its first regulatory fan.
Over the past month, there have been few countries whose regulators have not come out in opposition against Facebook’s cryptocurrency. From the United States to Australia, Libra has been called everything from a ‘tool to commit arson’ to the next 9/11.
However, one knight in shining armor, or rather suit and tie, has emerged.
Jens Weidmann, President of Germany’s Deutsche Bundesbank, has voiced his opinion in favor of Libra, chiding his colleagues. Post the G7 meeting in Chantilly, France, Weidmann stated,
“If they [Facebook] deliver what they promise, they might be attractive to consumers.”
The German Central Bank Chief added that the traditional method of cross-border payments is ‘comparatively slow’ and ‘expensive’ in the current day, and Libra could possibly, enhance the same.
Adopting a stance of measured skepticism rather than erratic fear, Weidmann urged his counterparts to not be alarmed at the prospect of Libra. He added that the innovative desire of companies should not be willfully subdued. Weidmann said,
“It’s not about carelessly suppressing innovative concepts.”
Since Libra is still over a year out from its official release, there is time for regulators to engage in discussions, he added. Questions regarding money laundering and privacy seem to be the most pertinent, concerns echoed by regulators in the United States as well.
Only when these questions have been “satisfactorily clarified” and the “consent of the supervisors” considered ,can the project go forward, he added.
Weidmann’s fellow German regulators are not as positive or nuanced on the topic of Libra. Olag Scholz, Germany’s Finance Minister, stated that he reserved “serious concerns” on the question of Libra, citing similar pressing questions as mentioned above. Scholz said,
“The publication of a currency does not belong in the hands of a private company, because it is a core element of state sovereignty,”
Across the Atlantic, the past few days could be described as mayhem for Facebook’s Libra. Jerome Powell stated that Libra could not go forward until serious concerns regarding privacy and financial instability were addressed by Facebook. President Trump and his Treasury Secretary also decried Libra, Bitcoin, and the cryptocurrency industry.