French Finance Minister Reiterates Facebook Must Not Create a Sovereign Currency

Neil Dennis

France's Bruno Le Maire, already an outspoken critic of Facebook's Libra project, took another swipe at the cryptoasset on the sidelines of Wednesday's G7 Finance Ministers summit.

France aims to use its presidency of the G7 to bring attention to the growing powers of the large digital companies such as Facebook, Amazon, Google and Apple at this two-day event which started on Wednesday July 17.

G7 FinMins in Chantilly

Speaking to reporters outside the meeting in Chantilly, north of Paris, Le Maire referenced the speech made about project Libra by the US Treasury secretary on Monday. Le Maire said:

I fully share the concerns expressed by Steven Mnuchin about Libra.

Mnuchin had said that Facebook has "a lot of work to do" on convincing the Trump administration it would have measures in place to combat money-laundering, before the US would let it launch the planned cryptoasset.

Le Maire is more concerned, however, that Libra will eventually gain such wide appeal that it could compete on a similar scale with sovereign currencies. He said:

We do not want any private company to have the possibility of creating a sovereign currency.

Libra Has No Commitments

He expressed concerns that if Libra were to scale similarly, a currency such as the euro would be at a disadvantage because the Libra has no obligation to fulfill particular commitments to sovereignty, monetary policy or financial stability.

So, I think there is a need for regulation; a need for very strong commitments and obligations for that project - and for the time being I think these necessary requirements are not fulfilled by project Libra.

Le Maire had previously expressed similar opinions shortly after Facebook announced its intended launch of the Libra. His comments were echoed across parliamentary floors, central banks and regulatory institutions around the world.

Marcus Defends Libra to Congress

Indeed, David Marcus, the Facebook executive at the helm of the Libra project testified this week in US Congress in defense of Project Libra before the Senate banking committee. 

Marcus has insisted that the Libra Association will work with governments, central banks and regulators to ensure the cryptocurrency does not compete with sovereign currencies or interfere with monetary policy.

Le Maire also addressed the issue of money laundering and the financing of terrorism, insisting that the Libra project must be dedicated to stringent measures to counter these threats. He said:

We have spent many years addressing these issues. How could we accept a new currency which would not stick to the same kind of obligations?

Marcus said previously that Libra would "continue to work with regulators and policymakers to ensure that it complies with all applicable legal and regulatory requirements".