The launch of Facebook Libra has been a hot talking point among the tech and crypto media circles. For the Indian cryptocurrency community, one of the main questions has been whether Facebook Libra will be available in the country since initial reports stated that the company has built this cryptocurrency for WhatsApp payments in India.
However, an Economic Times report has now said that Facebook may abort its cryptocurrency launch in India since the current regulations do not permit the use of banks for cryptocurrency-based financial transactions. According to the source quoted by ET, Facebook’s Calibra Wallet will not be available in geographies where the use of cryptocurrencies is restricted or banned.
Facebook has not yet filed any application with the Reserve Bank of India or other Indian regulators. While Facebook is preparing for a global launch in 2020, it will be interesting to see whether the company shuns India completely, considering that it is the social media giant’s biggest market.
According to legal experts quoted in the ET report, if Libra is transacted in a closed network, the Indian regulators might be less concerned about it. However, if it does not operate within a closed network, RBI will be more concerned about it since it will mirror characteristics of public blockchain-based cryptocurrencies. Moreover, Facebook would risk violating RBI’s norms as well as some provisions of the IT Act.
Here’s our analysis on how Facebook Libra could be legalised in India: