• Jinia Shawdagor

Facebook’s Libra set to launch in 2021 as a USD-pegged stablecoin

Facebook’s long-awaited Libra-stablecoin might launch as early as January next year. A report unveiled this news on November 27, noting that after an entire year of strict scrutiny from multiple financial watchdogs across the globe, the Libra digital currency will go live as a US dollar-pegged stablecoin. The report cited three people that are familiar with the Libra project’s operation, noting that the Libra Association seeks to add more fiat currencies to the basket of assets that will eventually back the stablecoin’s value.

According to the report, the exact date of launch remains a mystery. The publication added that the date of launch will also depend on when the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) will greenlight the Libra Association to operate as a payments service.

A FINMA spokesperson declined to comment on the topic. Instead, the agency’s representative referred to an announcement on Libra’s licensing process saying,

“In accordance with its usual practice, FINMA will neither provide public information on the status of the ongoing procedure nor speculate on when it may be complete.”

Making strategic appointments to help expedite Libra’s launch

This news comes after Facebook announced the Libra project in June last year. After the launch, the project faced a lot of scrutiny from regulators, forcing the company to pause the development of the coin. To help expedite the project’s development, Facebook formed the Libra Association, a governing body comprising mainstream companies such as Uber, Shopify, and Spotify among others.

Since then the association has made multiple key appointments to help the Libra project become compliant, hence hastening its launch. These hires include the appointment of HSBC legal chief Stuart Levey as CEO, Steve Bunnell as the chief legal officer, and Sterling Daines as the chief compliance officer. The most recent appointment was that of Saumya Bhavsar as general counsel of Libra Networks, a subsidiary of the Libra Association, which operates the Libra payment system.

Despite hiring experts from various fields and announcing that the Libra stablecoin will go live in a limited form as a peg to the US Dollar in a 1:1 ratio, the Libra project still faces an uphill battle. This is because global regulators are continuously clamping down on the digital payments industry, holding senders and receivers of cryptocurrencies accountable for their transactions.