There has been a lot of hype about Facebook’s upcoming crypto project Libra but turns out the company has no plans to offer the services of the associated Calibra in India, which happens to be the largest market for this social media giant. This update comes in the wake of India’s hardening stance regarding crypto and the recent skepticism expressed by Indian officials regarding the Libra project.
A spokesperson from Facebook reportedly cleared up the matter in an email, and essentially dismissed the possibility of rolling out Libra crypto in the Indian market. The email said:
“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.”
The Reserve Bank of India, the central bank of the country had earlier prohibited banking institutions from getting involved in cryptocurrencies but trading via informal channels have continued. To eliminate these informal networks, the government is planning to come up with a law that lays down strict penalties for crypto traders, with jail time stretching up to 10 years. In fact, the country’s economic affairs secretary, Subhash Garg, said in an interview to Bloomberg that the Indian government would not be too amenable to a private cryptocurrency operating within a decentralized framework in the country.
Alexandu Voica, a representative of Facebook, clarified the social media major’s approach to the issue. He reportedly said to a crypto news media outlet that:
“Calibra will respect the legislation.But we are looking to work with regulators to see if the legislation can be updated.”
Considering that India is the largest market for Facebook and a place where the behemoth is planning to launch its WhatsApp payments service soon, the decision to not launch Calibra in the country might take away from the immense potential the product could have had in the country.
Till now, many governments and regulators have expressed concern about Libra and Calibra, and their purported ability to threaten the sovereign economies of the world. Even so, some governments like that of Switzerland, have been rather warm and welcoming. Voica further clarified:
“The Libra Association is speaking to potential partners from around the world.The blockchain project has multiple uses in smart contracts, supply chain management and so on – it’s not just for cryptocurrencies.”
Clearly, the Indian market is likely to miss out on a major launch in the crypto scene if Facebook sticks to its decision and the Indian government to its stance.