move confirms the bloc's tough line on Libra, which has
attracted criticism from global regulators over its possible
impact on the financial system since it was announced last June.
"No global stablecoin arrangement should begin operation in the
European Union until the legal, regulatory and oversight
challenges and risks have been adequately identified and
addressed," the ministers said in a joint statement.
Stablecoins are digital currencies, like Libra, that are usually
backed by traditional money and other securities, while crypto
coins like bitcoin are not. Both are cryptocurrencies.
Under sustained pressure from regulators, a quarter of Libra's
original backers including payments giants Mastercard and Visa
ditched the project in October. The exodus left Facebook and 20
other members of the Geneva-based Libra Association to forge
ahead with the project, due for launch by June next year.
EU ministers said they could consider EU rules to regulate
crypto-assets and stablecoins as part of a global plan.
The EU commission is already working on this new regulation, EU
finance commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis told finance ministers
in a public session of their meeting in Brussels.
Ministers also praised the European Central Bank's work on a
public digital currency, which could represent an alternative to
In a document presented to finance ministers, the ECB said a
public digital currency could be necessary if payments within
Europe remained too expensive.
Its possible adoption would be accelerated by signs of lower
cash usage, the ECB said, warning however that the impact of
such an initiative on the financial system could be very large,
and therefore would need to be assessed carefully.
(Reporting by Francesco Guarascio; additional reporting by
Thomas Wilson in London; Editing by Jon Boyle, Kirsten Donovan;
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