Facebook's digital currency could arrive early next year

Tyrone Stewart

The debut of Facebook’s long-awaited digital currency could finally be arriving in the new year – a year and a half after Facebook first officially unveiled its plans.

According to the Financial Times, citing sources, Libra could be arriving in January, but in a more limited capacity than originally planned. It’s reported that the Libra Association will launch a single coin backed one-for-one by the dollar, with other currencies due to be rolled out at a later point.

The thing still standing in the way of Libra’s launch is when, and if, it receives approval to operate as a payments service from the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority, though the approval is expected as early as January.

Upon unveiling its plans, Facebook quickly received scrutiny from regulators in the US and in Europe, who raised concerns about personal data and the potential financial power it would give Facebook and its partners. This would lead to several of the Libra Association’s founding members leaving the project and distancing themselves from the idea – PayPal’s decision to leave the project was soon followed by Mastercard, Visa, eBay, Stripe, and Mercado Pago also calling it quits.

More recently, the Libra Association announced measures to appease the concerns of regulators and appointed HSBC legal chief Stuart Levey as its first Chief Executive, as it looked to prove itself to be independent of Facebook in May of this year. In the same month, Facebook announced that it would be changing the name of its Calibra subsidiary to ‘Novi’, but would continue its work to introduce a digital wallet to enable people to send and hold Libra digital currencies.