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The launch of Libra

Peter Chapman talks to BBC World

19 June 2019

Financial Markets Partner, Peter Chapman appeared live on BBC World News’ Global Business with host, Matthew Amroliwala, to discuss the unveiling of Facebook’s global digital currency, Libra, which will target 1.7 billion unbanked people around the world. [Watch the full interview below].

Peter said “I think it is a very interesting point in time for financial services that we’re seeing the launch of a new currency which will span the globe without a single bank involved at this stage. Some banks may be feeling disintermediated here. We have seen similar examples in China where WeChat Pay and Alipay are already the method of making payments for billions of people without banks necessarily being involved in the process. 

One of the difficulties for Facebook might be - will this digital currency be accepted? Who will accept it? Who will use it? The 1.7 billion unbanked are an obvious and good target market for Libra. Facebook and the other companies supporting the launch of the new currency are such enormous global brands that there’s sure to be acceptance. But trust and issues of data privacy will be the core questions, not just for consumers, but also the regulators who will be looking at this and asking whether Facebook has put their difficulties [around Cambridge Analytica] behind them.

The intention is to launch Libra in the first half of 2020 but given there are a number of questions for Facebook to answer and when thinking about this from a global perspective - that seems to me to be quite a tall order.”