French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said today that progress would be made next year on a feasibility study on the European Central Bank’s public digital currency. The European Central Bank should consider issuing a public digital currency, according to a draft EU document, largely inspired by Facebook’s digital cryptocurrency Libra.
Facebook launched Libra in June, which is scheduled to go on to launch next year, but has since faced a hostile response from regulators around the world.
Plans to issue a European public digital currency surfaced after Facebook unveiled the Libra project, the report said. Clearly, a public digital currency would be an alternative to Libra and other private digital currency projects and could reduce the cost of international transactions.
In response, French Finance Minister Jean-Yves Le Maire said today: “Although this is a long-term project, it will not stop us from doing so, I believe there will be results next year.” Mr Le Maire also said the potential impact of the introduction of such a digital currency, particularly on banks and conditions of implementation, could be known next year.
In fact, Le Maire has been an outspoken opponent of Libra since Facebook announced the Libra project in June. In addition to concerns that Libra could undermine the sovereignty of other currencies, he highlighted issues such as money laundering, terrorist financing and market dominance.
On July 11th Mr Le Maire said he opposed the idea of making Libra a sovereign currency. On July 17th Mr Le Maire added that the conditions for Facebook to continue its plan to move forward with its digital cryptocurrency Libra were premature. On September 12th Mr Le Maire said the French government planned to block Libra’s development in Europe because it would pose a systemic threat to financial security and stability.