German finance minister Olaf Scholz has officially joined the media fracas surrounding Facebook’s cryptocurrency efforts, according to a Reuters report.
Echoing other public officials who have struck critical tones in recent days, Scholz called upon regulators to examine the social media company’s Libra project. Scholz reportedly raised concerns about consumer protection and the potential disruption in the eurozone.
He was quoted as saying:
“The euro is and remains the only legal means of payment in the euro area.”
This point is in line with comments made by France’s finance minister, Bruno Le Maire, following Libra’s unveiling.
“It is out of question’’ that Libra be allowed to “become a sovereign currency,” he said at the time. “It can’t and it must not happen.”
The introduction of widely-accessible digital assets may interfere with states’ ability to manage their economies through monetary policy, according to Scholz. “The issuance of a currency does not belong in the hands of a private company because this is a core element of state sovereignty,” Scholz said.
In June, Markus Ferber, a member of the European Parliament, also called for regulatory scrutiny of Facebook to stop the multinational from operating as a “shadow bank.”
Scholz alluded to efforts underway by German authorities and their allies to “ensure financial stability, consumer protection and the prevention of entry-gates for money laundering and terrorist financing,” Reuters reports. As previously reported, an international regulatory task force was arranged between the Group of Seven (G7) nations.
This public address from a European authority comes as the U.S. Senate Banking Committee hears testimony regarding Facebook’s exploration of cryptocurrencies.