‘Stablecoins’ pose risks amid resistance to Libra, says ECB’s Coeure

Shadow of a 3D-printed Facebook Libra cryptocurrency logo. (Reuters/File)
Updated 17 September 2019

‘Stablecoins’ pose risks amid resistance to Libra, says ECB’s Coeure

LONDON: A new breed of asset-backed cryptocurrencies such as Facebook’s Libra are untested and pose serious risks, the European Central Bank’s Benoit Coeure said on Monday, pledging a tough regulatory approach.

Coeure’s comments came during an event at the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) in Basel, where the Group of Seven working group on so-called stablecoins met to discuss regulatory issues posed by the new digital currencies.

“Stablecoins are largely untested, especially on the scale required to run a global payment system,” said Coeure, who chairs the BIS-hosted Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures. “They give rise to a number of serious risks related to public policy priorities. The bar for regulatory approval will be high.”

Facebook’s planned Libra is the most well-known of the stablecoins, cryptocurrencies usually backed by a range of assets such as traditional money deposits. These new digital coins are designed to overcome the wild price swings that have rendered bitcoin impractical for commerce and payments.

The world’s largest social media network announced plans in June to launch the new currency as it expands into e-commerce, but Libra has come under fire from regulators around the world worried about its impact on the financial system and potential for use in money laundering.


Lebanese journalist Roula Khalaf becomes first female editor of Financial Times

Updated 12 November 2019

Lebanese journalist Roula Khalaf becomes first female editor of Financial Times

  • Khalaf has served as deputy editor, foreign editor and Middle East editor during her more than two decades at FT
  • Khalaf will join Katharine Viner at the Guardian as one of the few women to edit major newspapers in Britain

LONDON: Lebanese journalist Roula Khalaf will become the first woman to edit the Financial Times in its 131-year history after Lionel Barber, Britain’s most senior financial journalist, said he would step down.
Barber said on Tuesday he would leave in January after 14 years as editor and 34 years at the Nikkei-owned newspaper, which had one million paying readers in 2019, with digital subscribers accounting for more than 75% of total circulation.
Khalaf has served as deputy editor, foreign editor and Middle East editor during her more than two decades at the salmon-pink FT and in recent years has sought to increase diversity in the newsroom and attract more female readers, while also becoming the publication’s first Arab editor.
“It’s a great honor to be appointed editor of the FT, the greatest news organization in the world.
“I look forward to building on Lionel Barber’s extraordinary achievements,” said Khalaf, whose earlier writing for Forbes magazine had earned her a small role in Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street.
Her article described the leading character Jordan Belfort as sounding like a twisted version of Robin Hood who takes from the rich and gives to himself and his merry band of brokers.
Khalaf will join Katharine Viner at the Guardian as one of the few women to edit major newspapers in Britain and one of few leading female editors in the world after Jill Abramson left the New York Times.
Before joining the FT in 1995, Khalaf worked at Forbes in New York and earned a master’s at Columbia University and graduated from Syracuse University.
Tsuneo Kita, chairman of Japan’s Nikkei which bought the FT from Pearson in 2015, said in a statement Khalaf was chosen for her sound judgment and integrity.
“We look forward to working closely with her to deepen our global media alliance.”
Nikkei’s Kita described Barber as a strategic thinker and true internationalist, adding he was very sad to see him leave.
“However, both of us agree it is time to open a new chapter,” he said.
During his time as editor, Barber engineered a successful push into online subscription that protected the title as others battled an unprecedented collapse in advertising revenue, as well as managing the move to a new owner.