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Japan urges G-7 to think beyond existing rules in dealing with Libra

Key Points
  • Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso on Wednesday urged his G-7 counterparts to make a comprehensive assessment of Facebook's Libra digital currency for any fresh challenges that could be overlooked by existing regulations.
  • Facebook's plan to launch a digital coin has met with criticism from regulators, central bankers and governments who say it must respect anti-money-laundering rules and ensure the security of transactions and user data.
  • Policymakers also fear widespread adoption of the digital currency by Facebook's 2.38 billion users could upend the financial system.
A visual representation of digital cryptocurrency coins on display in front of Facebook and Libra logos.
Chesnot | Getty Images

Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso on Wednesday urged his G-7 counterparts to make a comprehensive assessment of Facebook's Libra digital currency for any fresh challenges that could be overlooked by existing regulations.

The social media company's plan to launch a digital coin has met with criticism from regulators, central bankers and governments who say it must respect anti-money-laundering rules and ensure the security of transactions and user data.

Policymakers also fear widespread adoption of the digital currency by Facebook's 2.38 billion users could upend the financial system.

"Applying existing regulations alone may not be enough. A comprehensive examination is needed to see if Libra poses new challenges that existing rules do not take into account," Aso told reporters after the first day of a two-day G-7 gathering that ends on Thursday.

"On the other hand, authorities need to respond in a timely fashion so they're not behind the curve."

Finance leaders of the Group of Seven top economies gathering in Chantilly, north of Paris, agreed on the need to highlight their concern on Libra, though there was no consensus on how to regulate it, said a senior Japanese finance ministry official who was present at the talks.

"Most G-7 members saw Libra as posing a serious problem from the perspective of consumer data protection and the impact on monetary policy," the official told reporters. Such concerns will be reflected in a chair country's statement to be issued by France after the conclusion of the G-7 meeting, he added.

Earlier on Wednesday, U.S. lawmakers bashed Facebook over its planned cryptocurrency, saying the company had not shown it could be trusted to safeguard the world financial system and consumers' data.

Aso said the G-7 finance leaders also reconfirmed an assessment made by the bigger G-20 gathering that the global economy remained on track for a recovery, despite strains from the simmering U.S.-China trade tensions.

"There was an agreement (among the G-7 members) that the global economy will likely recover through next year," Aso said.

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