Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency faces EU antitrust scrutiny



Social media behemoth Facebook’s plan to launch a cryptocurrency is subject to an antitrust probe by European Union regulators, Bloomberg reports, citing a document seen by the organisation.

The European Commission is “currently investigating potential anti-competitive behaviour” related to the Libra Association amid concerns the proposed payment system would unfairly shut out rivals, the report said.

EU officials said they were concerned about how Libra may create “possible competition restrictions” on the information that will be exchanged and the use of consumer data, according to Bloomberg.

The EU regulators are also examining the possible integration of Libra-backed applications into Facebook services such as WhatsApp and Messenger, said the report. Facebook and the Commission both declined to comment on the investigation.

Deep scepticism

Facebook’s plan has already been met with intense scepticism worldwide, not only from data protection activists but also from politicians and financial regulators.

Their scepticism is fuelled by the fear that widespread adoption of the new digital currency by the social media giant’s 2.38 billion users, more than the combined populations of the United States and China, could upend the financial system. It could create global currency authorities would neither control nor manage.

US lawmakers last month grilled the company on its ambitious plan to create a Libra-based financial ecosystem.

US Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz and his French counterpart Bruno Le Maire have also spoken out against Libra.

Mark Carney, the Bank of England’s governor, said issues such as money laundering, terrorist financing controls and data protection needed to be addressed before Facebook can be allowed to launch its digital coin.

Facebook also faces increasing governmental scrutiny in the US over its privacy practices, including a record $5-billion (€4.5-billion) fine from the US Federal Trade Commission for mishandling user data. — Deutsche Welle

Subscribe to the M&G

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them.

Srinivas Mazumdaru
Guest Author

Related stories


If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here


Subscribers only

Mbeki tells ANC that land without compensation goes against the...

‘This would be a very serious disincentive to investment,’ says Thabo Mbeki in a document arguing that the ANC should not proceed with the Constitutional amendment of section 25

Micro-hydropower lights up an Eastern Cape village

There is hidden potential for small hydropower plants in South Africa

More top stories

Abattoir compliance for game meat will kill Eastern Cape industry,...

Last month, the department of agriculture issued a notice saying that the slaughter and dressing of game meat at any place other than an abattoir was prohibited, and that those not complying could be fined or imprisoned

Gauteng health system is heading for catastrophe

While officials remain entangled in bureaucratic knots, clinicians warn that the continued closure of the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital risks a ‘humanitarian disaster’

Entrepreneurship will save South Africa’s youth

Complaining about ‘reverse racism’ and BEE serves no one. South Africa’s white youth should focus on entrepreneurship instead

Union calls on government to nationalise ‘profit-driven’ Clover

The dairy’s Lichtenburg factory, which is being closed due to service delivery issues, employs about 380 permanent and 40 temporary workers

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…