Facebook has confirmed that Libra isn’t coming to India as government shies away from ‘private’ cryptocurrencies

Reuters
  • Facebook has confirmed that their new cryptocurrency, Libra, won’t be coming to India.
  • Reserve Bank of India (RBI) banned dealing in cryptocurrency and proposed a law which could lead to 10 years in jail if its guidelines are violated.
  • Facebook’s spokesperson told Bloomberg that they will continue to work with the Indian government to see if the current mandate be updated.
Facebook has confirmed that its new cryptocurrency, Libra, won’t be making its way to India. The social networking giant has said that unless the country’s Central Bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), changes its policies, Libra and Calibra’s digital wallet services won’t be launching in the country.

“There are no plans to offer Calibra in India,” a Facebook spokesman told Bloomberg, “As you may know, there are local restrictions within India that made a launch of Calibra not possible at this time.”

It could be a big blow to Facebook’s plans for its cryptocurrency. According to Jefferies Financial Group, Libra was counting on emerging markets like India for explosive growth, where Facebook already has over 310 million users.

RBI vs Facebook

The RBI came down hard on cryptocurrencies last year when it banned its use, and told banks to disassociate themselves from cryptocurrency exchanges.

Last month, the RBI proposed a new draft law — Banning of Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill 2019 — which proposes jail time of up to 10 years if anyone is found dealing in cryptocurrency.

The government is also reportedly working on launching its own cryptocurrency, backed by the state, to counter the prevalence of digital currencies.

Subhash Garg, India’s economic affairs secretary, reacted to Facebook’s white paper on Calibra saying that the government would not be ‘comfortable’ with the launch of Calibra in India, especially since its a ‘private’ cryptocurrency.

But Facebook isn’t giving that easy. Alexandru Voica, Facebook’s representative in London, told Bloomberg that the company is still working with regulators to see if India’s policy for cryptocurrencies can be updated.




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