The announced release of Facebook’s digital coin, Libra, has resulted in backlash from many directions. The Indian government is saying it may not allow the coin to be traded within its country. This would represent a significant blow to the coin as India is Asia’s third-largest market.
The country took the measure last year of banning financial institutions under the jurisdiction of its Royal Bank from using cryptocurrency of any kind. It is currently legal for individuals to trade bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies but it was revealed last month that the Indian government has considered making cryptocurrency trading a jailable offense.
Subhash Garg, The Secretary of Economic Affairs for India, says it is not totally clear what Facebook’s Libra represents to the Indian government. Garg says, however, that whatever Facebook intends the coin to represent, it will be a privately traded digital currency and that is not something with which India is comfortable.
The Libra coin was announced a month ago by Facebook. A governing body known as the Libra Association has been created to manage the coin and users will store their coins in a virtual wallet called a Calibra. Major companies like Mastercard, Paypal, Spotify, and eBay are onboard and partnering with Facebook on the project.
Facebook says the initial launch of the coin will take place in the first part of 2020 and will allow users to use the coin to send money to friends and family in other countries, make donations to their favorite charities, and purchase products.
In America, a Senate Committee will convene to discuss the cryptocurrency in July 2017.
Bruno Le Maire, Finance Minister of France, says he sees no problem with Libra if it is only used to facilitate the purchase of products. The finance minister went on to say that Facebook should not be allowed to use the digital coin as its own currency.
Mark Carney, Bank of England Governor, said at a meeting in Portugal recently that Libra, like any other currency of its kind, should be regulated by the highest standards possible.
Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes has gone on record to say the potential influence of the Libra coin is frightening. He says the power now enjoyed by central banks would be transferred to corporations. Hughes says the coin will disrupt unstable governments by allowing its citizens to reject local currencies in favor of a currency managed by global corporations and denominated in euros and dollars.