Libra Association to Launch Scaled-down Digital Currency in January

The launch date depends on regulatory approval from FINMA, expected as early as January. A new name has been adopted for the association and the digital currency.

The Libra Association, a consortium created by Facebook, has changed its name and is planning to launch a scaled-down version of its planned digital currency in January.

In April, in response to regulatory concerns over its initial plan to create a stablecoin backed by a basket of currencies, the Libra Association said it instead planned to launch digital versions of several currencies, plus a ‘digital composite’ of all of its coins.

According to the Financial Times, the association now plans to initially launch a single coin backed one-for-one by USD. The other currencies and the composite will be rolled out at a later point.

The launch date still depends on when the project receives approval from FINMA (Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority) to operate as a payments service, but this is now expected to come as early as January. Libra’s application was initiated in May.

The Libra Association has also announced the adoption of a new name for its association and its digital currency, denoting a “new day” for the project. The association will be known as the ‘Diem Association’ and the digital currency as ‘Diem’.

“The Diem Association will continue to pursue a mission of building a safe, secure and compliant payment system that empowers people and businesses around the world,” the association said in a statement.

Stuart Levey, the Diem Association’s CEO, and HSBC’s former legal chief, said the project will provide a simple platform for fintech innovation to thrive, while enabling consumers and businesses to conduct “instantaneous, low-cost, highly secure transactions”.

“We are committed to doing so in a way that promotes financial inclusion – expanding access to those who need it most, and simultaneously protecting the integrity of the financial system by deterring and detecting illicit conduct,” he added.

Having now put in place a number of new executives to help lead the project, the Diem Association is prioritising technological and operational readiness for launch.

Members of the Diem Association include Temasek, Xapo, Spotify, Uber, Coinbase, and others.

In late 2019 and early 2000, PayPal, Mastercard, Vodafone, Stripe and eBay – among others – quit the association amid criticism of the project from central banks and regulators over issues such as privacy, money laundering, consumer protection and financial stability.

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