Xavier Niel, a French billionaire businessman active in the telecommunications and technology industry who is best known as the founder of the French Internet service provider Iliad, wrote an article for LesEchos expressing his support for the Facebook crypto project, Libra, October 11, 2019.
Don’t Fear the Libra
Libra will exist. This is the statement with which Xavier Niel begins his piece. It is inevitable and to deny it would put France in a position of fragility and dependence.
According to Xavier, France must position itself at the center of this revolution and support this technological process which may coincide with social and human progress. All attempts to stop this project are counter-productive. The world is asking for more freedom, autonomy and less dependence on states. Payment methods will not escape it.
These considerations stem from the fact that Xavier considers Libra as a more stable alternative to existing currencies which can represent a safe asset in many countries in the event of economical instability; in addition, payments would also be more direct and faster like an SMS. Without intermediaries there will be no more delays and high commissions – this could threaten and transform the banking system as we know it.
In the article, Xavier also talks about the advantages that Libra would bring regarding global financial inclusion. The ‘Unbanked’ population sits at around 1.7 billion, or about 31% of the world’s population, of which 1 billion has a mobile phone and 480 million have access to the Internet. Nations shouldn’t be afraid of losing power or this sense of collective identity if their people start to use a new form of money.
Libra is simply an innovation that, with the right support, can become an added convenience for everyone.
However, it must be remembered that the French billionaire has all the interests to speak well of Libra. His company, Iliad, is one of the founding members of the Libra Association, so it would be strange if Xavier had a different opinion than the one expressed in the article.
Libra is also an opportunity for companies that could significantly increase their customer base. The more people can communicate with the same medium of exchange the more efficient and competitive the market becomes. Libra offers this possibility.