Bank of Canada to review Facebook's cryptocurrency white paper 'very carefully'

OTTAWA — The Bank of Canada says it will review Facebook's white paper on its proposed global cryptocurrency Libra "very carefully," but would not comment on whether the social media giant has been in touch about its ambitious plans.

When asked about whether Facebook has reached out about its plan to launch its own digital currency, similar to Bitcoin, a Bank of Canada spokeswoman said it does not discuss private meetings that officials may have.

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The spokeswoman added that the central bank will continue to work with domestic and international partners to assess recent developments and ensure that the current regulatory framework contains the "appropriate safeguards."

Facebook on Tuesday said it plans to launch Libra in 2020 alongside partners including PayPal, Uber, Visa and Mastercard, and also published a white paper to outline its vision of a "reserve-backed cryptocurrency built on the foundation of blockchain."

The Bank of Canada has done extensive research on cryptocurrencies, including a staff discussion paper in February where it stated that a private digital currency could "increase the fragility of the financial system."

In December 2017, central bank governor Stephen Poloz sounded the alarm on Bitcoin, saying the cryptocurrency was not a reliable store of value and does not constitute money.

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