Facebook's Libra currency under fire

Facebook's planned virtual unit Libra faces scepticism among the wider cryptocurrency community as well.

LONDON - Facebook's planned virtual unit Libra, already under heavy attack from US President Donald Trump and global regulators, faces scepticism among the wider cryptocurrency community as well.

One theme -- besides Brexit -- dominated discussion among the movers and shakers from London's financial technology or FinTech industry as gathered for their annual get-together: the future of virtual currencies.

In the room, filled with about 100 experts and media who closely track the sector, about two-thirds of participants raised their hand to express distrust at the upstart currency.

READ: With 'Libra,' Facebook takes on the world of cryptocurrency

Helen Disney, founder and boss of Unblocked Events, which promotes the blockchain technology that powers many cryptocurrencies, acknowledged growing doubts over who exactly would oversee and regulate Libra's operation.

People are "concerned about how the governance... would work", Disney told AFP.

"The cryptocurrency community is very libertarian in thinking," its "about giving power to the people, democratisation of finance, keeping away from big banks and companies who control (the) economy," she said

Last week's gathering came one month after Facebook announced to the world its plans for the virtual currency.

Libra, which is widely regarded as a challenger to dominant global player Bitcoin, is expected to launch in the first half of 2020.

READ: Trump says cryptocurrency is 'not money'

Libra has meanwhile raised eyebrows among the world's financial regulators, including the Bank of England, the European Central Bank and the US Federal Reserve.

But Disney believes that Libra will finally force regulators to present clear regulation guidelines, as demanded by the cryptocurrency community itself.

"We have been waiting for a long time for a clearer signal (regarding) the regulation of cryptocurrencies and digital assets," she said.

Trump has meanwhile unleashed a vicious attack on virtual currencies, slamming them for their alleged shadowy nature and arguing that Libra had no standing nor dependability -- unlike the dollar.

"I am not a fan of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, which are not money, and whose value is highly volatile and based on thin air," Trump tweeted Thursday.

Source
AFP