Facebook outlined a revamp for its planned Libra cryptocurrency project, scaling-back its initial vision for the initiative in a bid to appease global regulators.
In a statement, Facebook specified a “path forward” for Libra, with an updated strategy which will see the play run more akin to a traditional payments network by offering digital versions of currencies already on the market, dubbed “stablecoins”, backed by their cash value.
It also plans to support digital currencies launched by banks and it will marry blockchain technology with accepted regulatory frameworks.
In light of its changes, Libra’s governing body the Libra Association started a process to formally apply for a licence with the Financial Markets Supervisory Authority in Switzerland. The licensing process will have input from central banks and other financial regulatory supervisors around the world.
The company, which had originally aimed to launch the platform early this year, will now look to rollout at the back end.
Facebook faced scrutiny US and European regulators about its initial plans for Libra, which proposed using cryptocurrency in place of traditional money transfers to slash remittance costs and promote global financial inclusion. Regulators argued digital currencies must be fully investigated before launching, due to concerns around money laundering and impact to monetary stability.
To address money laundering concerns, Facebook added it would establish a financial intelligence unit to vet those using the system.
Regulatory scrutiny led to high-profile backers, including Vodafone Group, Visa and Mastercard, among others, pulling their support for the project.