The long-awaited Facebook-led digital currency Libra is preparing to launch as early as January, Financial Times reported Friday, citing three people involved in the initiative, but in an even more limited format than its already downgraded vision. From a report [Editor’s note: the link may be paywalled; alternative source]: The 27-strong Libra Association said in April that it had planned to launch digital versions of several currencies, plus a “digital composite” of all of its coins. This followed concerns from regulators over its initial plan to create one synthetic coin backed by a basket of currencies. However, the association would now initially just launch a single coin backed one-for-one by the dollar, one of the people said. The other currencies and the composite would be rolled out at a later point, the person added. Libra’s exact launch date would depend on when the project receives approval to operate as a payments service from the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority, but could come as early as January, the three people said. Finma said it would not comment on Libra’s application, which was initiated in May. First launched in June 2019, the scaling down of Libra’s vision comes as it has received a sceptical reception from global regulators, who have warned that it could threaten monetary stability and become a hotbed for money laundering. While the restricted scope may appease wary regulators, critics have complained that a move to single-currency coins could hit users looking to convert currencies with additional costs, undermining its ambition to enable greater financial inclusion.
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