With the recently unveiled Libra cryptocurrency by Facebook which is hot in the altcoin news all over the world, China has emerged as a perhaps surprising leader when it comes to the public interest about cryptocurrency in general. New web search stats show that despite the fact that cryptocurrency is banned in the country, the searches on it are soaring at press time.
The top two hottest search trends on the web search giant Weibo address a Chinese film celebrity’s jealous children as well as the first movement of Leonardo da Vinci and his iconic Mona Lisa painting outside the Louvre since 2005. Facebook Libra searches are currently ranking in third place and were in the second place before that.
The web search stats also show that the regional fascination in Facebook’s proposed stablecoin – which is meant to provide a means of payment initially – could expand to their use cases in time. The data shows that this is viral on many best cryptocurrency news sites but also a hot topic on Google Trends.
As Google’s web search stats show, there are more and more people looking for information on “Facebook Libra” which peaked around the time of June 18 when the Libra whitepaper was launched. This indicates that China is the number one ranked nation for that search term. Surprisingly, the US is down at number 14 on this list.
We should add that Google is officially blocked in China which is why the web search stats come from Weibo, the leading search engine provider in the country. And while the growing concerns from global regulators have also dominated the headlines in recent days, the Google searches for “Facebook Libra regulation” are currently too low to indicate any regional preferences.
Even though Libra may not see its launch to the public for a year or more (as the coming altcoin news show), plenty of people are searching for “Facebook Libra price” with Pakistan, Singapore and South Africa being the nations with the most searches on this term.
Overall, the web search stats show that Facebook’s token pales into insignificance when compared to Bitcoin, which appears an almost flat blue line dominated by the massive interest in the top cryptocurrency market value.
Vodafone Quits The Facebook Crypto Project Libra Association
‘’We have said from the outset that Vodafone’s desire is to make a genuine contribution to extending financial inclusion. We remain fully committed to that goal and feel we can make the most contribution by focusing our efforts on [mobile payments platform] M-Pesa.’’Vodafone’s reason for leaving Facebook’s Libra crypto project opens up more issues for Libra itself. M-Pesa is now a successful mobile money transmission system that is popular in East and Southern Africa while Safaricom recently signed a deal with California-based global remittance provider Ria money. This deal will enable M-Pesa customers to send payments to more than 20 countries across the globe. Apart from Vodafone, some of the early backers such as PayPal and Mastercard have already quit the Facebook Libra Association and both of the platforms pointed to the growing regulatory pushbacks against the project as the reason for the decision to pull out of the partnership.Back in 2019, the US Senators urged the Libra backers such as Visa and Stripe to leave the project. Despite the criticisms against the project, the Libra Association continued to move forward with the proposed digital currency platform and the developers of the crypto project released a second roadmap with a mainnet testing already underway. Libra is still facing a lot of criticism while countries are moving towards creating their own central bank digital currencies and the banks from Canada, England and Switzerland are now forming a CBDC think tank.The coalition says it will exchange many ideas on how to develop sovereign digital currencies for their respective nations since Australia is also experimenting in the digital payment system that will run on the Ethereum blockchain. China seems to be leading the CBDC race since it has accelerated plans after Libra launched its white paper.
Libra Stimulated Us To Take CBDCs Seriously: Japanese Banking Veteran
“The latest decision is not just about sharing information. It’s also an effort to keep something like Libra in check [...] Major central banks need to appeal that they, too, are making efforts to make settlement more efficient with better use of digital technology.”Yamaoka is confident that Libra stimulated the markets and put some pressure on financial institutions to lower the costs of transactions. With this, a lot of fundamental questions about nation states' control over currency issuance were also raised.However, the banking veteran and ex-BOJ official was in the Libra news for saying that central banks may stifle private-sector innovation by using CBDCs to enhance the effectiveness of central bank measures. As he noted:
“In the world of central bankers, the idea of using CBDCs to enhance the effect of monetary policy seems to have subsided somewhat. There are increasing doubts about the effect of negative interest rates as a policy tool. If so, do you want to issue CBDCs for the sake of deploying a policy with questionable effects?”The expert concluded stating that while Libra stimulated us to see CBDCs in a different light, monetary officials need to be sane in wake of the new changes.
“If you want to make monetary policy effective, you need to ensure people keep using the currency you issue,” he concluded.
Australia’s APRA Considers Overlooking Facebook’s Calibra
“The new framework is intended not only to be fit for purpose for the current financial system but also be able to accommodate future developments and technological advances, such as proposals for global stable coin eco-systems that have been subject to significant attention in recent months. Under this proposal, APRA’s role in the framework would be to oversee wallets that are widely used as a means of payment and store of significant value for a reasonable amount of time.”Facebook’s Libra could indeed be a stabelcoin backed by real assets but it is not the only digital payment service that is created by large technological companies. Apple Pay, for example, is another type of digital wallet that has now more mass acceptance while APRA decides whether to support this as well. The report informs that because of apple’s product that is already in works with the existing infrastructure run by banks, it could attract a lot lower level of regulatory scrutiny.In addition, the Reserve Bank of Australia doesn’t really believe that the country will need its own central bank digital currency. As per the recent reports, the institution believes that the Australian people already have well-established and regulated digital payment services so they don’t really need a stabelcoin. With Libra’s continuous regulatory problems before the launch, the question remains whether in any other country they will start adopting Libra as a legal form of payment.
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