Facebook reportedly met British authorities and regulators three times prior to publicly announcing plans for its Libra stablecoin.
As Reuters reported on Sept. 18, Facebook had several appointments with officials at Britain’s finance ministry, the Financial Conduct Authority and the Bank of England this spring. Reuters received details regarding the meetings after submitting Freedom of Information requests.
At the meetings, the tech giant discussed its forthcoming digital currency in a bid to get support before the official announcement.
Libra has been actively trying to get approval from regulators around the world, and has pledged not to launch until regulators are appeased. A Facebook spokesperson told Reuters:
“Engaging with regulators, policymakers, and experts is critical to Libra’s success […] This was the whole reason that Facebook along with other members of the Libra Association shared our plans early.”
Bank of England Governor Mark Carney previously argued that Libra, due to the massive scale of the project, has to be virtually perfect at the outset in order for it to be released at all. He said: “It’s either successful or it isn’t. If it’s successful, it becomes systemic, because it would involve a very large number of users. And if you’re a systemic payment system, it’s 5-sigma.”
After Facebook introduced the white paper for Libra earlier this year, United States Representative Maxine Waters requested that Facebook halt its development while authorities investigated the project and its potential effect on the economy and U.S. monetary policy.
David Marcus, the head of Libra’s associated wallet Calibra, subsequently agreed to delay the launch — and said he believes they can improve the current system and stop criminals from using Libra for illicit activity.
Earlier in September reported that the Libra Association, of which Facebook is a member, is seeking a payment system license under Switzerland’s Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) for Libra.
FINMA later said that it is open to international cooperation and oversight of the way in which it regulates the planned cryptocurrency network. FINMA director Mark Branson stressed that the body does not need foreign pressure to recognize the major challenges that a project of Libra’s scale poses for regulators. Branson said:
“It was crystal clear from the start that this project could have huge dimensions and implications.”