France says Libra will not be allowed in Europe

France 'Cannot Authorize' Facebook's Libra Project

The European Union should create a common set of rules for virtual currencies, now largely unregulated in the bloc, to counter risks posed by Facebook's pseudo-cryptocurrency Libra, the finance minister of France said on Friday.

LEGAL LIMBO Meanwhile, European Union authorities are sending Facebook a clear message that Libra is not welcome in Europe.

Libra could cause risks to consumers, financial stability and even "the sovereignty of European states", France's Bruno Le Maire told reporters at a meeting of EU finance ministers in Helsinki.

In Switzerland, Libra is applying for a payment service licence, although it could face rules that typically apply to banks, regulators in the non-EU Alpine state said on Wednesday.

As previously reported by Hard Fork, Le Maire said Libra posed systemic financial risks, risks for sovereignty, and the potential for abuse of market dominance associated with Facebook's cryptocurrency.

Unlike Facebook Libra, which is designed by the social media giant and controlled by a Zuckerberg-built consortium, Bitcoin is decentralized and operates without the need for a third-party. The company initially enlisted 27 partners to enable digital currency transactions and then brought in lobbyists after a broad backlash. The prevent any interference with its value, the coin will be regulated and monitored by the Libra Association, a subsidiary that is free of Facebook and includes financial organisations.

The Libra Association hopes to make Libra available by June 2020.

Merely days after Libra was announced, United States officials branded the cryptocurrency a "serious concern", and raised a number of privacy, consumer risk, and regulatory hurdles that Facebook was asked to address.

But, she argues, concerns about the misuse of Libra for unlawful activity - something Facebook's David Marcus has said Libra aims to make more hard, not less - miss the project's primary aim.

Also in France on Thursday, Google has agreed to pay a €500m ($554m) fine €465m ($515m) and to settle a four-year old tax fraud probe, according to Reuters.

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