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Facebook's Libra faces anti-trust review by EU watchdogs

Facebook's Libra faces anti-trust review by EU watchdogs

Competition watchdogs at the European Commission have begun probing potential anti-trust issues relating to Facebook's digital currency project Libra.

The European Commission is "currently investigating potential anti-competitive behavior" related to the Libra Association amid concerns the proposed payment system would unfairly shut out rivals, the EU authority said in a questionnaire seen by Bloomberg and sent out earlier this month.

Officials said they’re concerned about how Libra may create "possible competition restrictions" on the information that will be exchanged and the use of consumer data, according to the document.

Regulators are also examining the possible integration of Libra-backed applications into Facebook services such as WhatsApp and Messenger. It said their investigation focuses on the governance structure and membership of the loosely affiliated Libra Association, which comprises a number of major companies, including Visa, Mastercard and Paypal.

The probe is the latest in a series of hurdles facing Facebook as it strives to reassure regulatory bodies the world over about privacy, security and competition worries regarding its new currency unit.

Comments: (1)

Christopher Williams
Christopher Williams - RTpay - Winchester Uk 21 August, 2019, 11:26Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

While it is perhaps necessary for such a review to take place, given the somewhat hysterical reaction of US legislators, let us hope that it is done to consider the good that can come from Libra's costsaving blockchain technology, as well as assessing any anti-competitive aspects.

Being able to offer financial services to the 2.4 billion Facebook users around the world - and, in particular, the 1 billion plus unbanked of them - is a major potential breakthrough. Just one facet is the $1 trillion pa remittance market, where the average costs are still around 7% (and much higher in many cases); Libra can bring this down to 1% or lower. So, $60 billion extra income for many of the poorest people - that's more than the whole US government international aid budget, to show the value.

The other Libra association members, such as PayPal and Vodafone, will offer strong competition to Calibra, the Facebook subsidiary which is an equal member with them. 

So, yes, please EU investigate the whole Libra story, but do so from a position of evalution of the good as much as of the harm.   

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