Facebook’s Libra seeks payment system license from Swiss regulator

The Libra Association, the non-profit organization behind Facebook-led cryptocurrency project Libra, is looking to get a payment system license from Switzerland’s financial regulator.

The association announced Wednesday that the license under the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) can “empower billions of people.” The association has also submitted a request for a ruling to clarify its regulatory status, per the announcement. 

“We are engaging in constructive dialogue with FINMA and are encouraged to see a feasible pathway for an open-source blockchain network to become a regulated, low-friction, high-security payment system,” said Dante Disparte, Libra’s head of policy and communications.

“This is an important step in Libra’s evolution, and we look forward to continuing our engagement with all stakeholders over the coming months,” Disparte added.

FINMA has confirmed receipt of an inquiry from the Libra Association, saying that the way Libra project is currently envisaged, it would require a payment system license on the basis of the Financial Market Infrastructure Act (FMIA); this is over and above the Anti-Money Laundering Act, which is applicable to such projects by default. FINMA today also issued new guidelines for stablecoins

Just last month, a group of U.S. lawmakers, led by Democratic Congresswoman Maxine Waters, met FINMA officials to discuss the Libra project. The meeting, however, did not clear Waters' concerns. She said at the time: "My concerns remain with allowing a large tech company to create a privately controlled, alternative global currency."