China and India Say “No” to Libra
Among the areas that either won’t allow Libra or where the currency won’t be making an appearance are U.S. sanctioned countries, such as Iran, or in nations where cryptocurrencies have suddenly struck a wrong or illegal chord. These nations include China and India, the latter of which is proposing a ten-year prison sentence for anyone who engages in any cryptocurrency activity, whether it be mining, trading or selling.
China has had something of a mixed relationship with cryptocurrency given how much wealth it can attribute to just mining alone. Companies such as Bitmain, for example, have dominated the crypto mining space for some time, and have earned billions of dollars in revenue through extracting new coins, so the idea that China is now considering a full ban on cryptocurrency mining is quite scary to these companies.
Recently, it was announced that crypto mining allegedly has very hazardous effects on the environment. Given atmospheric concerns, China has placed crypto mining on a list of potentially damaging activities that it is considering eliminating altogether. The good news is that this list has apparently existed for a very long time. China repeatedly states that crypto mining must go, yet has done very little to make this happen, so perhaps companies like Bitmain have nothing to worry about.
India is another story. Last year, the country instilled legislation that made it illegal for any bank or financial institution to do business with cryptocurrency companies. Now, India is suggesting that a full ban of all crypto use be initiated, though this debate is still up in the air. No steps towards the ban have been taken yet, but that isn’t stopping people from feeling the heat.
There’s a Lot of Potential, Here
The fact that Libra won’t be available in India is a huge setback for Facebook, which has been seeing its user base grow regularly in the country. Within the next ten years, India is set to overtake China as the world’s most populous country, meaning Facebook is likely to garner even more users than it has now, and Facebook’s DAU rose by approximately eight percent from 2018 to 2019 thanks, in part, to growth in India and the Philippines.
India also has the world’s largest unbanked population after China, meaning Libra could serve a much loftier purpose within the nation’s borders. Hoping to ease potential regulations, Facebook is now introducing what it calls “lite” versions of various applications, such as WhatsApp, which offer different features and use less data. Much of India still does not have access to the Internet, meaning “lite” versions of apps can be utilized by more people.