Aussie officials to investigate Facebook’s cryptocurrency


Facebook will be forced to divulge details of its proposed cryptocurrency amid concerns about its impact on Australia’s national security and banking.

News Corp Australia reported on Wednesday that eight regulators have joined forces to use their respective power to probe Facebook and Libra, the global cryptocurrency which it plans to launch in 2020.

Australian authorities have expressed fears that the currency could make it more difficult to enforce anti-money laundering and anti-terror laws while also enabling scams through the social media platform.

The regulators that have joined forces include the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and Austrac, the anti-money laundering regulator.

According to documents obtained by News Corp, ASIC’s “emerging threat and harm committee” met in July to discuss “the potential disruption to Australian financial markets posed by the Libra crypto-asset and ecosystem.”

A meeting between the watchdogs and Facebook executives in October failed to allay their concerns about Libra.

Ahead of the earlier ASIC meeting senior staff were warned that an “inability” to effectively supervise Libra could affect “all consumers (and) investors.”

“The proposed Libra eco-system also poses many risks and threats, including the proliferation of scams based on Libra via mobile apps,” briefing notes for the meeting said.

“We also expect that we may identify more risks and threats once we have more information.”

Facebook announced plans for Libra in June, with the currency to be managed by a coalition of almost 30 technology companies.

Approximately 15 million Australians are active users of Facebook platforms including Instagram and secure messaging service WhatsApp. Enditem

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