Bank of England Governor Mark Carney has commented that the institution will be keeping an open mind regarding Facebook’s Libra Coin, but that it will not be keeping an “open door.”
Carney: We’ll Examine Things, but We Won’t Approve Them Just Yet
In other words, the bank is willing to remain open to Facebook Coin and consider its advantages, but the company shouldn’t see this as an opportunity to simply do whatever it wants. The bank is looking to instill strict regulation when it comes to cryptocurrencies, though it admits that for such regulation to be successful, the effort must be global.
Cryptocurrencies are garnering mixed reactions from critics and traditional monetary establishments, and Facebook’s Libra is privy to these reactions. Many believe that financial policies must be put in place if the currency is to thrive and do its job accordingly. Facebook has faced heavy scrutiny in the past for its ties to Cambridge Analytica and for selling customers’ private data to third parties, and many don’t trust the platform to handle their personal financial information.
When it comes to implementing such regulation, however, Carney doesn’t think the bank is in the best position. He acknowledges that while the institution has power, it’s not as technically sound as the banks situated in neighboring regions. At a recent summit, he commented:
The U.K. is still a long way behind countries such as Sweden, where users can make direct, free and real-time bank-to-bank payments in-store and online with a text or a scan of a QR code.
He did mention, however, that:
Libra, if it achieves its ambitions, would be systemically important.
Right now, it appears the Bank of England is taking “baby steps” that will allow it to compete technologically with other institutions. For example, it recently submitted a report showing that in-store cash transactions have decreased rapidly, while online digital payments are more popular than ever.
Thus, the bank is opening access to its balance sheet, allowing “new payment providers” and giving users access to payment firms and further digital means. The bank suggests that this will “improve the transmission of monetary policy and increase competition.”
Is Money Tough on the Planet?
Carney has also expressed concern over the carbon emissions and environmental impacts that bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have on Earth’s atmosphere. Recently, Live Bitcoin News reported that the mining of bitcoin releases as much carbon as the entire city of Las Vegas. In addition, it has been reported that China is considering a full ban on crypto mining given the alleged problems it poses to the environment.
At press time, the bank is undergoing a series of tests designed to better understand the carbon footprints of incoming financial technology, one of which is cryptocurrency. The bank is also seeking to reduce its own carbon footprint by more than two-thirds within ten years.