Facebook’s Libra currency to launch next year in limited format

The long-awaited digital currency Libra could finally see the light of day as soon as January 2021, according to a new report.

Expected in January, the exact launch date is still not known and would depend on when the Libra Association receives regulatory approval by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority, or FINMA, to operate as a payments service.

The association would now initially just launch a single coin backed one-for-one by the dollar, one of the people said. The other currencies and the composite would be rolled out at a later point, the person added.

Originally launched by Facebook executives, Libra suffered a difficult birth when a wave of its founding members — including PayPal, Mastercard, Vodafone and eBay — quit over in late 2019 and early 2020 and distanced themselves from the controversial project. The association then announced in April that it was overhauling its vision to address regulators’ worries, limiting its scope and promising extra measures to police its system for abuse.

The news comes as Bitcoin, the original cryptocurrency, rallied to record highs of close to $20,000 this week, amid rising interest in digital currencies from professional investors and central banks, and as the coronavirus pandemic has quickened a shift from cash towards digital payments.

Meanwhile, PayPal, which was the first founding member to drop out of the Libra initiative, announced last month that it would launch support for cryptocurrencies, including at the checkout, with Dan Schulman, chief executive, calling the shift to digital forms of currencies “inevitable”.

The Libra Association and Novi declined to comment.

Source: FT