A Facebook spokesperson recently announced that the social networking firm has decided not to launch its Libra token in India, due to strict regulations against cryptocurrencies and crypto activities by the Indian government.
A report by The Economic Times quoted the spokesperson as saying, “There are no plans to offer Calibra in India. As you may know, there are local restrictions within India that made a launch of Calibra not possible at this time.”
According to Facebook’s Newsroom, Calibra is “a newly formed Facebook subsidiary whose goal is to provide financial services that will let people access and participate in the Libra network.”
With strict regulations launched by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), including the ban on dealing in cryptocurrencies, operating Libra would be virtually impossible in India. As previously reported, the draft of Banning of Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill 2019 proposed a 10-year jail sentence for people who “mine, generate, hold, sell, transfer, dispose, issue or deal in cryptocurrencies”.
Such regulatory pressure has forced several major crypto exchanges in India to shutter their business, claiming it is now impossible to operate a crypto exchange in the country.
Facebook representative Alexandra Voica said that “Calibra will respect the legislation, but we are looking to work with regulators to see if the legislation can be updated.” Although India is Facebook’s number one market, the situation has forced the company to scale back its crypto ambitions at this time.
Voica added that Facebook will be working with the governments all over the world for both the Libra cryptocurrency and Calibra digital wallet. He said that the Libra blockchain project is not just about cryptocurrencies, but has other uses as well, such as supply chain management and smart contracts.
Libra has been touted as a rival to Bitcoin, the first and largest cryptocurrency, and has attracted regulatory scrutiny from several governments, including the United States.
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