The Libra Association—set up to run Facebook’s Libra—announced today it will apply to become a licensed payment system, under the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA). At the same time, it has asked the regulator to provide more clarity on how it plans to handle the Libra cryptocurrency.
Ever since Libra launched, it has been beset by skepticism from governing bodies and financial regulators around the world. In response, the association has reiterated its commitment to work with regulators.
“Since our vision for the Libra project was announced three months ago, we have maintained our commitment that technology-powered financial services innovation and strong regulatory compliance and oversight are not in competition,” said Dante Disparte, Libra Association’s head of policy and communications.
“We are engaging in constructive dialogue with FINMA and we see a feasible pathway for an open-source blockchain network to become a regulated, low-friction, high-security payment system,” he added.
While Switzerland is home to the headquarters of dozens of global companies, Libra Association's decision to base the project in a country that has made disclosing the banking activities of the wealthy illegal has raised some eyebrows. Congresswoman Maxine Waters—who called for a moratorium to halt the project—recently traveled to Switzerland to examine how Libra would work.
While questions circle around Facebook's ability to keep its existing datasets secure, and governments, including the US are busy drafting legislation to keep big tech out of finance, the Libra Association is forging ahead with the cryptocurrency-based payments network.
The question is, will there be anything left of Libra to launch if regulators get their way?