D.M.: Money has different functions and can take different forms. Traditionally, a currency is something sovereign that is issued and managed by a central bank with the aim of maintaining its purchasing power so that it can perform its functions: as a payment method, as a store of value, and as a unit of account. The new technology that exists and is used in the private sector essentially makes it easier to provide money in a private form, too. And this also means that Libra should not be seen as competition to the existing money, but rather as a potential supplement to it. Although the original concept stipulates that Libra is based on various existing currencies, it is ultimately a private currency. This raises the question of how the relationship with the sovereign currencies will be organized and how stable, reliable, and recoverable this private currency will be once it has been issued. Whether or not Libra becomes widespread will ultimately depend on whether it can take on the properties of good money, i.e. stable value, broad acceptance, and the possibility of efficient payment. All of this and much more are things that we don’t yet know about Libra. For example, a wide variety of players are planned in the Libra system (e.g. designated dealers, virtual asset service providers, validators, custody banks). It is still unclear which institutions would perform these different functions and what rights and obligations would be associated with them. With traditional money, it’s simply a bank that assumes an obligation to the customer. With the Libra system, it’s not clear what role non-banks and other service providers will play. While all of these questions remain unanswered, Libra will hardly be able to meet the regulators’ requirements. The intention to make international payments more liquid, efficient, and secure is laudable in itself, as there is certainly a need for action here. However, it remains to be seen whether this can ever actually be achieved.
S.K.: With regard to international payments, the exponents of Libra have stated that they want to contribute to financial inclusion, so that everyone in the world can have an account and make payments efficiently and cost-effectively. The current inefficiency in international payment transactions is evident. First, it takes a long time for money to be transferred to another country. Second, these transfers are expensive. This is something that Libra and other market initiatives want to address. I think this is an important issue that should also be addressed by the current players in payments, including central banks. It will not necessarily require new technology. At an international level, measures have been identified to address the inefficiency in international payment transactions. These include the ISO 20022 migration, the admission of new providers in payments (including fintechs) to accounts at central banks, and the extension of operating hours. Switzerland has already implemented these measures in the SIC system.