The Swiss Federal Data Protection and Information Commissioner (FDPIC) recently stated that it was yet to get a response from Facebook, regarding the company’s plan for its cryptocurrency, Libra.
According to the FDPIC, more information was needed to determine its advisory and supervisory role in Facebook’s maiden stablecoin project.
No Word Yet From Libra Association
During the hearing before the Senate Banking Committee on July 16, 2019, Head of the Facebook Libra project, David Marcus, among other things, stated that Switzerland’s data protection authority, the Federal Data Protection and Information Commission FDPIC), would monitor Libra in terms of data privacy issues.
However, it appeared that the agency only got to know if its role in the Libra project after Marcus’s testimony. Hugo Wyler, Head of Communication at FDPIC, said there had been no communication between the agency and the Libra’s team prior to the hearing.
Wyler added that with Marcus’s statement, the FDPIC noted its role in Facebook’s crypto project, but was awaiting communication from the Libra team
Since Wyler’s statement about one week ago, the Swiss data protection agency is still waiting, as it is yet to get a word from Facebook’s Libra team. The data privacy regulator sent a letter to the Libra Association on July 17, 2019, requesting detailed information on the project.
Based on a report by Reuters on July 23, 2019, the Swiss agency said:
“The FDPIC is currently waiting for the Libra Association to respond to (its) letter of 17 July 2019 and set out their official position.”
Facebook Facing Increasing Scrutiny
One of the primary reasons why Facebook’s Libra is faced with so much scrutiny is because of its data privacy deficiency. United States representative, Maxine Waters, asked the company to suspend its plans to launch a stablecoin, saying that the cryptocurrency could threaten online privacy.
Another government representative who touched on Facebook’s dark past was the French Prime Minister, Bruno Le Maire. According to Le Maire, the digital currency could serve as a tool to gather more data.
Aside from the call to regulate Libra, the cryptocurrency landscape is generally loosely regulated with some countries trying to implement crypto regulations, while other jurisdictions seem not to be ready.
There have been calls for government agencies to provide regulatory clarity for the crypto industry to ensure the growth of the industry and also curb fraud, and money laundering.
One of the countries with restrictive, ambiguous digital currency laws, is the United States. Chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Jay Clayton, stated that Ethereum was not a security, a pronouncement he made for Bitcoin and other similar virtual currencies in 2018.
Back in February 2019, “Crypto Mom” Hester Peirce, who serves as SEC’s Commissioner, asked the regulator to give the crypto industry room to grow. The SEC later released an updated regulatory framework for crypto tokens.
Balancing Digital Innovation and Regulatory Clarity
While countries like the United States operate a restrictive, ambiguous cryptocurrency landscape, places like Switzerland and Bermuda are creating an enabling environment for the digital currency industry to thrive.
Zug, Switzerland, is popularly known as the “Silicon Valley” of blockchain technology. The country’s crypto-friendly regulatory policies enable virtual currency companies and projects to thrive; with Facebook also launching the Libra Network in Switzerland.
Bermuda’s Digital Assets Business Act of 2018 (DABA) also provides a robust regulatory framework that addresses different aspects of the crypto industry. Circle moved Poloniex crypto exchange to the country, after being frustrated with crypto laws in the U.S.