“I want to be absolutely clear: In these conditions, we cannot authorize the development of Libra on European soil,” Bruno Le Maire said at the OECD Global Blockchain Policy Forum in Paris. “The monetary sovereignty of countries is at stake from a possible privatization of money … by a sole actor with more than 2 billion users on the planet.”
His declaration follows a compromise between Paris and the U.S. on a controversial French digital tax, a deal reached only after President Trump threatened to impose tariffs on French wine. The U.S. tech companies that would have been affected, including Facebook, claimed the tax unfairly targeted them.
Facebook rolled out plans for Libra, which would open a huge new revenue stream, in June. The cryptocurrency project generated immediate pushback from U.S. lawmakers and international regulators who worried that a built-in market of nearly one-third of the world’s population would give Libra enough heft to interfere with global currencies that are typically the purview of national governments.
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell has been skeptical of Facebook’s initiative, a position he reiterated on Friday. Libra could disrupt the financial system if it’s not held to the highest standard, he said, and it “has a burden of proof to carry.”