Facebook-backed cryptocurrency Libra rebranded as Diem in quest for regulatory approval

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Facebook-backed cryptocurrency Libra rebranded as Diem in quest for regulatory approval

(Reuters) – The Facebook-backed cryptocurrency scale has been renamed “Diem” in order to reapply regulatory approval by emphasizing the project’s independence.

Plans for the Libra, first revealed by Facebook last year, were cut back in April after regulators and central banks raised concerns that they could improve financial stability, undermine control over monetary policy and compromise privacy.

Tuesday’s name change is part of an endeavor to highlight a simpler, revamped structure, said Stuart Levey, CEO of the Geneva-based Diem Association behind the proposed digital coin.

“The original name was tied to an early iteration of the project that was difficult to pick up on by regulators. We have changed that proposal dramatically, ”Levey told Reuters.

Diem, which means “day” in Latin, now intends to launch a single digital dollar coin initially, he added.

He declined to comment at the time of the launch, which the Financial Times reported last week could take place as early as January, saying only that it would only be done after approval by the Swiss market watchdog.

Facebook, which changed the name of its payment entity Calibra to Novi Financial here in May, remains one of 27 members of the Diem Association, formerly the Libra Association. Novi boss David Marcus is one of the five board members of Diem.

“You are an extremely important member of the club,” said Levey of Facebook’s continued commitment.

“We’re not trying to cut all ties. This (the name change) is meant to mean that the association works autonomously and independently, ”he added.

Diem aims to differentiate itself by focusing on aspects of concern to regulators and Western governments, including sanctions controls and financial crime, Levey said.

The project has announced plans to develop anti-money laundering, terrorist financing and sanction compliance guidelines, and has abandoned previous plans to allow anyone to join its network.

(Reporting by Anna Irrera and Tom Wilson in London; editing by Alexander Smith)