The recently announced Facebook’s cryptocurrency Libra, which will be Bitcoin’s competition, will not be launched in India. After facing pushback from the Indian government, Facebook Inc said that it had no plans to offer its Calibra digital wallet services in the third-largest economy in Asia, India.
According to reports, a Facebook spokesperson said in an email that they had no plans to offer Calibra in India and added that there were local restrictions within India that have made the launch of Calibra impossible.
RBI’s strict regulations
The Reserve Bank of India’s strict regulations, which include the ban of dealing cryptocurrencies, won’t allow Libra to function and would hence make its launch impossible. In an effort to hold them back, the government drafted a Banning of Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill 2019 that proposes a 10-year extended prison term for individuals who get involved in cryptocurrency.
In an interview with Bloomberg, Subhash Garg, India’s economic affairs secretary, talked about India’s discomfort with virtual currency said, “It would be a private cryptocurrency, and that’s not something we have been comfortable with.”
The litigation challenging the Reserve bank of India’s ban on cryptocurrencies is presently underway before the Supreme Court of India.
Facebook’s effort to get in the market
Alexandra Voica, Facebook’s representative, said that the Calibra will be respecting the legislation and has been looking ahead to working with the regulators to see if the bill can be updated. According to reports, Voica also mentioned Facebook would be making an effort to be in touch with the governments worldwide for both their crypto ventures- Libra & Calibra digital wallet. However, she did not mention if India will be a part of the discussions or not. Blockchain project, Libra, is not just about cryptocurrencies but also has other uses like supply chain management and smart contacts.
Libra plans to be managed by multiple organizations together, including Uber, Mastercard, Visa, and Paypal; even though it is at an early stage of its development and is expected to be launched in 2020.
India is Facebook’s largest marketplace where the networking giant is already preparing for a nationwide launch of its WhatsApp payments service, that has been in a year-long pilot restricted to one million users.