It has barely been two months since Mark Zuckerberg announced Facebook’s long awaited foray into the cryptocurrency market with Libra—but the platform already faces a raft of attacks from regulators and competitors.
European Union lawmakers are taking a close look at Libra, which an antitrust official told Bloomberg could create “competition restrictions” by strangling other crypto brands. The quotes, and an initial survey sent by Brussels to Libra-associated groups, are likely the warning shots for a coming inquiry.
French and German officials have voiced concern over Facebook’s becoming a “shadow bank”, while American counterparts at the House Financial Services committee have expressed similar worries. Facebook has promised not to launch Libra until it has “fully addressed” regulatory issues. That may take some time.
Libra’s unveiling also appears to have energized some dangerous competition. This week 20-year-old Erik Finman, who became a Bitcoin billionaire in his teens, announced he would launch a coin to “kill” Facebook’s platform. Metal Pay will not only outpace Libra, but replace Bitcoin—whose adoption has stalled terminally—Finman blogged this week.
“Bitcoin’s adoption has stalled, and the barrier to its continued growth appears too tough to crack,” wrote Finman. “This isn’t necessarily about its value as an investment—being treated like ‘digital gold’ is fine for a cryptocurrency that is seen as a way of getting rich—but more about Bitcoin’s use as an actual currency.”
Finman aside, Libra may have an even more powerful foe with which to reckon: this Tuesday China Daily reported that the time is “almost ripe” to launch a Beijing-backed cryptocurrency which draws its “inspiration from Libra.”
The Chinese currency will not launch until next spring. But with a giant market, ties to a powerful central bank and the ability to work across platforms like WeChat, whose user base is reckoned at over a billion people, Libra has plenty to content with—before it has even gotten off the ground.