Antitrust regulators may also investigate internet companies’ cryptocurrencies: German cartel boss

Libra logo in the illustration

BONN, Germany (Reuters) – Cryptocurrencies backed by big internet companies could come under scrutiny from antitrust authorities, the head of Germany’s Federal Cartel Office said on Thursday after Facebook launched its own version last week.

Central bankers and financial regulators were quick to express concerns about Facebook’s planned global cryptocurrency Libra, saying it could become so ubiquitous that it disrupts the framework of global monetary policy.

The head of the German antitrust authority, Andreas Mundt, who has used the world’s largest social network in other areas of his business, told reporters that cryptocurrencies launched by companies such as Facebook “could become a topic for us.”

Mundt brought charges against Facebook for processing data collected from users of the social network and instant messaging services without their consent, stating that the company founded by CEO Mark Zuckerberg had abused its market dominance.

In its February ruling, the Federal Cartel Office ordered Facebook to restrict its data collection practices. The company appealed against this decision, which is currently pending before German courts.

(Reporting by Matthias Inverardi; Writing by Douglas Busvine; Editing by Tassilo Hummel and Alexander Smith)