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 released 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 Diem Association in Geneva.

“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 that it could happen as early as January. Levey only said that the launch would only take place after approval by the Swiss market watchdog.

Facebook, which changed the name of its payment unit Calibra to “Novi Financial” 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 with its focus on issues that are of concern to regulators and Western governments, including sanctions controls and financial crime, Levey said.

The group behind Diem has announced that it will develop guidelines for compliance with sanctions and the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing. They added that the project abandoned previous plans to allow anyone to join its network.

(Reporting by Anna Irrera and Tom Wilson in London. Editing by Alexander Smith.)