WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Facebook Inc. ( FB.O ), facing increasing skepticism about its Libra digital currency project, said Sunday that the initiative could use cryptocurrencies based on national currencies, like the dollar, instead of the synthetic one it originally offered.
FILE PHOTO: $ 3 banknote can be seen on Facebook banknotes in this illustration photo, June 18, 2019. Facebook told a banking seminar that the group's primary goal remains to create a more efficient payment system, but it has been open to seeking alternative approaches to the currency token it will use.
"We could do it differently," he said. "Instead of having a synthetic unit … we could have a series of stable coins, a dollar stable bitcoin, a euro stable bitcoin, a stable sterling pound, etc.," Marcus tells the panel.
"We could definitely approach this by having many stable coins that represent national currencies in tokenized digital form," he said. "This is one of the options that needs to be considered."
Marcus said he did not offer stable currency-related coins, the new preferred option for the group.
"What interests us is the mission, and there are many ways to accomplish this," Marcus told Reuters after the panel, adding that Libra "must demonstrate a lot of agility."
The Facebook-led project has gone through serious setbacks earlier this month as major payment companies Mastercard Inc ( MA.N ) and Visa Inc ( VN ) became the newest partners to leave the group behind the project.
Other key members who have retired include Stripe, eBay Inc. ( EBAY.O ) and Booking Holdings Inc ( BKNG.O ) and PayPal Holdings Inc ( PYPL .o ).
Policy makers and regulators also worry that the creation of a new synthetic global currency could lead to a global financial system, endanger consumer privacy and facilitate money laundering.
A group of 20 financial leaders on Friday agreed to set strict rules on cryptocurrencies and stated that such stable coins should not be issued until various global risks are addressed.
Marcus told Reuters that Facebook was still aiming for the launch of Libra in June 2020, but acknowledged it could miss that target due to regulatory obstacles.
"We shall see. That is still the goal, "Marcus told Reuters when asked if the recent departure of several major project partners would delay the planned launch in 2020.
" We have always said that we would not move forward unless we we deal with all legal issues and do not receive proper regulatory approval. So it's not entirely up to us, "he said.
Report by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Lisa Shumaker