Facebook on Wednesday unveiled the details of its much anticipated cryptocurrency’ Libra’ that is slated for an official launch next year. The social media’s giant’s entry into the fintech sector expectedly sent the entire world into tizzy.
Libra will be launched through Facebook’s new digital wallet product Calibra and will be available on all its platforms including messenger and WhatsApp.
Facebook claimed that Calibra will make digital payment as easy as sending text message on a smart phone and users can use this digital wallet for paying all their utility bills as well as for other transactional purposes.
Libra will be operated through an independent blockchain operation that will be jointly operated by big names like Visa, Pay Pal, Uber and Andreessen Horowitz among other founding members. These founding members have invested $10 Mn each in this ambitious project owned by Facebook.
However, Facebook may face some major hurdles in launching Libra in one of its most critical markets – India. The Indian government and RBI (India’s central bank) have already openly expressed their disregard for cryptocurrencies. India’s former Finance ministry Arun Jaitely in 2017 had castigated cryptocurrencies as Ponzi schemes.
This strong disdain is now taking shape of a bill that is still in the draft stage. If this bill titled ‘Banning of Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Currency Bill’ is enacted then it will impose a complete ban on Cryptocurrency and lead to 10 year imprisonment for anyone who is caught trading in the Cryptocurrency.
Government still hasn’t clarified about when it intends to introduce the bill in the Lok Sabha. Meanwhile, sources are claiming that Indian cryptocurrency companies are lobbying hard with the Finance ministry to abort the bill. Indian companies are also separately engaged in a ongoing judicial battle with the RBI to overturn the decision on banning financial institutions in deal with cryptocurrencies.
With so many adversarial situations trying pull down shutters on cryptocurrencies, it seems that the journey of Facebook’s Libra in India may have already come to a premature end.