Facebook's cryptocurrency Libra plans to apply for a license for its digital payment system from the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority, Finma. The Libra Association said it asked Finma for an assessment of the project to clarify its regulatory status. The supervisory authority confirmed the request. Accordingly, the Libra Association asks inter alia for an assessment of the planned issue so-called "stable coin".
The authority announced that according to the current concept, the project requires a license as a payment system under Swiss law. It would also be subject to the Money Laundering Act. Moreover, by issuing its own payment tokens, Libra would clearly go beyond a mere payment system and would therefore be subject to additional requirements.
"We are working on a constructive dialogue with Finma," said Diante Disparte, spokesman for Libra. Since the announcement of the project three months ago, it has been decided that a technologically-driven financial service and strong standards of regulatory oversight need not compete with each other.
Libra, like Bitcoin, is a so-called cryptocurrency. It only exists digitally and is based on a so-called blockchain. This is a kind of digital cash book: All remittances are stored in the form of individual blocks, they contain no indication of the identity of senders and receivers. Blockchains can differ in their structure. How the blockchain on which Libra is built is technically explained in a separate white paper. From 2020, it should be officially possible to pay with the digital currency Libra.
Politicians and representatives of central banks have strong reservations about cryptocurrencies like Libra. In July, the group of seven major industrialized countries (G7) called for digital currencies to meet the highest standards of supervision and not jeopardize the stability of the financial system. On Tuesday, US Undersecretary of State Sigal Mandelker of Cryptocurrencies had demanded the highest standards in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing.