EU Adds Another Hurdle For Facebook’s Libra
It is shaping up to be a busy year for social media giant Facebook – with EU antitrust regulators looking to grill the social network’s partners about the forthcoming Libra project.
Bloomberg says that it has “seen a document” that outlines how the European Commission (the EU’s executive body) is “currently investigating potential anti-competitive behavior” from the project. The news agency said the body had sent Libra partners a questionnaire “earlier this month.”
The document reportedly states that the regulators’ investigation “focuses on the governance structure and membership of the Libra Association.” The Commission is also looking at Libra’s possible integration with Facebook chat apps WhatsApp and Messenger.
Yesterday, Reuters reported that WhatsApp was “in advanced talks” with several digital payments firms and a major bank in Indonesia as it looks to launch a digital payment service in the country.
The company is currently awaiting regulatory approval for a rollout in India, where it was hoping to launch a stablecoin-powered payment network. But WhatsApp appears to have turned its attention elsewhere in Asia while it waits to hear back from the Indian authorities.
Reuters names the payment firms as ride-hailing service Go-Jek, mobile payments provider DANA (which is backed by Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial) and Lippo Group-owned fintech company OVO.
Reuters says its sources say the deals are all “expected to be finalized shortly.”
WhatsApp is also said to be in talks with state-owned Bank Mandiri, which has already launched a digital wallet service.
And sources told the same news agency that the “Indonesia model could become a template for WhatsApp to adopt in other emerging markets to get around regulations on foreign players creating their own digital wallets.”
Meanwhile, as reported, six members of the American House of Representatives’ Financial Services Committee – which last month summoned Facebook’s head of blockchain for questioning – are due to hold talks with Swiss regulators at the end of this week, with Libra and “other cryptocurrency projects” on the agenda.