French billionaire Xavier Niel, founder of the Iliad telecoms group, has said Facebook’s Libra is an “inevitable” and “constructive” project in a column in French financial newspaper Les Echos.
According to Niel, Facebook’s proposed cryptocurrency is a “reliable” project that is going to help offer financial services to various users outside of the current financial system. He wrote (translated):
Libra is a reliable project, constructive, demanding and consistent with the interests of our country. It is not the currency of Facebook but the currency of actors who gathered around a great idea, with a democratic governance, a real co-construction and a European dimension.
Niel, whose telecoms group is one of the members within the Libra Association, added that the cryptocurrency is “inevitable” and will exist whether regulators try to stop it or not. Per his words “fearing it will not prevent it from happening.”
The billionaire added regulators should, as such, anticipate the market’s progress to keep society from finding itself “dependent and weakened.” He called on France to be at the “heart of this revolution.”
His words seem to be a direct reply to France’s Minister of the Economy and Finance, Bruno Le Maire, who claimed the country was going to block the development of Libra in Europe as it threatened governments’ “monetary sovereignty.”
The social media giant’s upcoming cryptocurrency Libra has been criticized by various regulators throughout the world. Germany earlier this year joined Le Maire in opposing the launch of the currency in Europe, and later passed a new blockchain strategy to block it from circulating in the country.
One of the founding members of the Libra Association, PayPal, ended up withdrawing from it because of the regulatory pressure. In a statement the company said it was going to focus on “advancing our existing mission and business priorities.”