Unfazed by criticism about its intentions, Facebook’s Libra project plans to launch by the end of next year. Bertrand Perez, managing director of the Libra Association, told French magazine Les Echos that Libra would launch between the end of the first half next year and its end.
He also offered other details about composition of the basket of currencies that comprise Libra. Specifically, he said the basket would consist of the US dollar, Euro, Japanese Yen, Sterling Pound, and the Singapore dollar. The Chinese yuan will not be a part of the basket.
Regulators and governments around the world have expressed fears about the project, claiming that it could destabilize their economies. Bruno Le Maire, France’s finance minister, said yesterday that Libra threatens “monetary sovereignty”.
This is primarily because an increase in Libra circulation could drive down the value of local currencies and make it a preferred mechanism to conduct transactions. But Perez said monetary policies of countries in which Libra operates would affect the reserve and not the other way around.
A Controversial Project
Since it was announced in June this year, Libra has generated headlines and controversies. Le Maire fired the first warning shot against Libra a day after it was announced and exhorted the G-7 economies to examine it in detail. Regulators and international agencies took on the baton thereafter, launching a cascade of critical and curious comments about it.
The project is besieged on other fronts as well. Libra chief David Marcus faced tough questions from Congressional representatives and Senators during two days of hearings in July. Then came news reports that members of the Libra association, which is responsible for governing the blockchain, were not fully committed to it and had only signed Letters of Intent for the project.
Meanwhile, news from potential target markets for Libra i.e., countries with significant numbers of unbanked population, isn’t too good either. China has already announced its intentions for a digital currency while the project may be “aborted” in India due to existing regulations. Facebook also issued a warning in its earnings report, stating that the project might never launch due to regulatory pressure. But Perez’s answers indicate that the team is pressing on regardless of the pressure.