No "via Libra", even Italy is fighting the Facebook currency


For now, no via Libra. Italy also joins the struggle of Western governments against the virtual currency of Facebook. The Ministry of Economy would be working with colleagues from France, Germany, Spain and the Netherlands to prevent access in Europe to the stablecoin that Mark Zuckerberg would like to launch by the end of 2020. Today, black and white, there is only a draft document published as a preview Wednesday, October 30 by the website. A page written by the Finnish presidency of the Council of the European Union to say that virtual currencies like Libra "must not undermine our current financial and monetary order and our sovereignty". The finance ministers of the 27 EU states will discuss it in Brussels at the Ecofin meeting next week and then publish formal conclusions in December.

On the details of the European agreement no one unbuttons, but from the MEF report paying particular attention to the statements made last October 18 by Roberto Gualtieri during the meeting of the G7 Economy Ministers in Washington. "I am against the emergence of private currencies that pose risks not only to financial stability but also to sovereignty and democracy. It is not possible to predict which one stablecoin global can operate until a legal, rules and supervision framework is sufficiently defined ». Translated: at international level there is a common feeling to oppose Libra, but to be safe in Europe we must not arrive unprepared when the currency is launched on the market. Not only: «The need to modernize the payment system (is) something different from allowing this space to be occupied by private currencies». Hard words that are coupled with the government's decision to implement the digital tax, after two years of postponements. A 3% tax rate on digital multinationals' revenues.

Hostility to Libra is not just an opinion of the government, nor of a political party. Even Paolo Savona, the president of the independent authority for the supervision of financial markets (Consob) has lashed out against Facebook's currency. "The basic problem, if cryptocurrencies like Libra spread, is that you have to be sure that they follow the bitcoin method, as they say. But it can't be done because they should have a rigid and non-expandable offer, 21 million units, while Libra is given to the market, "he said on October 24 in Milan, during the presentation of a volume on Fintech. "Only bitcoins are impenetrable to hackers due to an economic problem. The other cryptocurrency no, but nobody informs customers. Since you take resources and invest them, as was the proposal of Facebook and comrades for Libra, we must control the investment. But already if you live in Switzerland gigantic problems of improcedibilita arise. The savings ends there and goes beyond our control, it's a very serious problem ».

It seems a paradox but in Italy the only institution to have opened a timid window to Libra was the symbol of monetary sovereignty: Banca d’Italia. "We are talking to so many operators because we cannot remain in an" Indian reserve ". But great caution is needed, because it is a choice that must be made in a wider dialogue, "he said Alessandra Perrazzelli, deputy director general of the Bank of Italy during a conference on Fintech organized in Rome by Fortune Italy at the end of September. «It is not a choice to make country by country but by geographical areas. We have to ask ourselves if we want to be the ones who open the doors completely or those who control ».

This is the Italian position, but what will happen at European level? For some time the European Commission has been closely following the development of the cryptocurrency and payment services market, including Libra. "Our short-term priority is to continue our legal assessment of cryptocurrency. For this we have sent a series of questions to the Libra Association. We are analyzing the answers these days», Explains a Commission spokeswoman, Annika Breidthardt. "Libra must be properly authorized and controlled to ensure financial stability and consumer protection. At this stage, it is too early to say how the project can be started in the EU ". The risk is that overly strict regulation of Libra could prevent the development of some European technological services in the future. "The Commission is carefully analyzing all the aspects concerning digitalisation, competition, taxation, anti-money laundering and data protection to obtain a more complete picture of its regulatory implications", concludes Breidthardt.

Not by chance yesterday bankenverdan, association of German private banks has launched the idea of ​​a digital euro based on cryptocurrencies within a common pan-European payment platform. The responsibility of the monetary system would remain in the hands of EU states, users would be clearly identifiable, and there would be clear rules to avoid money laundering and terrorist financing. This is the proposal, but for the practice it will be necessary to wait for the EU to first get an idea about Libra. We'll see. Meanwhile, Zuckerberg continues to receive slaps from governments and media critics, and in Congress he said he was ready to step back from the Libra project if US regulators disapprove of the project. However, it can console itself with data from the third quarter of 2019 of Facebook: the shares have increased by 5%, revenues by 29%, profits by 19%. But the 2.45 billion monthly users will not be enough to force the world to accept Libra.

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