Facebook is once again in trouble with authorities, though this time it is for something that is yet to even happen. On Thursday, France said it would block any attempt to launch or develop the firm’s Libra cryptocurrency. The French finance minister, Bruno Le Maire, said plans for Libra could not move ahead until concerns over consumer risk and governments’ monetary sovereignty were addressed. Speaking at a conference in Paris on virtual currencies on Thursday, he said: “I want to be absolutely clear: in these conditions, we cannot authorize the development of Libra on European soil.”
Facebook’s Libra proposal has rattled policymakers around the world since its planned launch was announced in June. They fear that it could shift control over the economy from governments and their central banks to big businesses. The launch also raised a concern about the risks such a currency could pose to consumers, particularly after the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which drew attention to Facebook’s management of its customers’ data. Global finance chiefs (G7) meeting in France earlier this year agreed that the regulatory and systemic concerns must be addressed before such projects known as stable coins can be implemented.