On Monday announced that Facebook, the introduction of the digital world currency, the Libra. This is a frontal attack on the financial world – and Switzerland is in the middle. The chief of this tremendous project is a man with a red passport: David Marcus (46). The first programming attempts he made as an eight-year-old in Geneva. There he spent his Childhood and youth, before he started his career in Silicon Valley.

Marcus has his old hometown for the centre of the new currency of choice: The Libra Association, which is responsible for the design of the Facebook Coins, is registered in Geneva. But why is Facebook coming to Switzerland? Behind the Marketing, technology and fear of stuck.

Like Bitcoin, also Libra is a crypto-currency Blockchain-based, but Dollar, Euro and the Swiss franc, the currencies of large countries bound. This makes them significantly more stable. The potential is huge: Over two billion people use Facebook and its services, Whatsapp or Instagram. But Facebook can’t conjure up such a mega project out of the hat. And the question is, from where it is to be controlled, is of Central importance.

EU pulls the bolt on

Switzerland has a reputation as a Blockchain-friendly country, the Federal Council supports the development effort. This is for the Facebook Image of Gold value. Equally important is the proximity to the UN organizations in Geneva, especially at the research institution Cern. Because the Libra infrastructure will have to cope with a massive data traffic.

Even more important, Facebook’s fear of busting. “With the founding of the charitable Association in Switzerland Facebook wants to protect itself against the threat of proceedings for monopoly abuse in the United States,” says Aleksander Berentsen (56), Professor for economic theory at the University of Basel. “A break-up of the group by the US competition authorities would not affect the new currency.”

the EU Also attracts the screw. Most recently, Google was fined in March by 1.5 billion euros due to the abuse of market power. And the G-20 States want to impose higher taxes for Internet companies. That is why Facebook comes in Switzerland. Here, the group hopes to have a more favourable environment for a new currency. For the regulatory procedures are in addition to the acceptance is the main hurdle. Attorney-at-law Cornelia Stalk (38), the framework advises the Federal Council for improvements to the Blockchain -: “With us lawmakers, regulators and policy are very open to such initiatives.”

The idea of Facebook already others had. Both crypto-currencies, or to Pay with the mobile phone or international wire transfer companies exist for a long time. New in Libra the scales, is, in any case, if Facebook’s rise plans. Here is a selection of competing products.

The mother of all crypto-currencies. With a decisive difference to Libra: The number of Bitcoins will not grow. This means that if demand Increases, also increases the value of the pure digital currency.

method to make a payment with the mobile phone, launched by various Swiss banks and Postfinance. Who holds the phone at a Terminal, you can transfer money. In contrast to Libra, you pay with a special currency, but in Swiss francs.

Analog to Twint is mobile payment methods. You must put a credit card behind.

services company that offers worldwide money transfer. You can be a cash Deposit, the payment to a different place in the bar. Popular in developing countries, where many people have no Bank account. One of the companies, whose business is at risk model by Libra the most.

banks ‘

threaten to lose new customers Who wants to offer out of Switzerland financial services, requires a permit issued by the financial market Supervisory authority. “We are in contact with the initiators,” confirms Finma spokesman Thomas Lux. “From a Supervisory perspective, can pose different questions,” says Lux. “Compliance with the rules of the money laundering? It is a Fund? It needs to have a banking license?”

Are the regulatory hurdles here, must also be in the other countries the requirements are met. “This is for Facebook feasible”, says the expert, and Stems. “It is that simple.” And not a small amount. About $ 100 million expected cost of the process. For the Libra Association that is not a Problem, because Facebook has include well-known companies on Board: Visa, Mastercard, Ebay, Paypal, Uber, and Spotify to the so far, 28 members of the Association. 100 it should be at least.

Traditional banks are not among them, although digital currencies, you can make the payment unnecessary. Their intermediary role between company and customer. Although the impact on profits is likely to be manageable. And the payment is already free. Follow rich but is likely to be that the payment of the contact with the majority of the customers begins. He breaks away, to come no more new customers. How the banks react to it, is completely uncertain.

Central banks with unstable currencies at risk

Also, the national Bank has the Libra Association in view. Because it oversees the payment systems in Switzerland and Libra could make a serious competition: with a private Coin. Aleksander Berentsen: “The SNB could say that All Swiss households are allowed to open an account with us. And many would entrust their money with the SNB, as the private institutes.”

For Swiss companies, the new currency would be interesting. The Libra Association has already basis before the Start of a huge customer. That comes – and the state currencies in order for serious competition grows, is as good as safe. Particularly vulnerable are Central banks with unstable currencies. In Venezuela, the people are waiting for the end of the Bolivar. You will reach in 2020 as a first Smartphone and with Libra figures.

And the Swiss? “A currency through Whatsapp comfortably free of charge and can be accessed, is attractive for the young”, says Aleksander Berentsen. It is clear to him: “Libra will also gain importance in Switzerland.”

With Libra brings Switzerland a significant organization in the country. Instead of a joyful “Welcome”, however, hear a distant “Bonjour Messieurs” to.

reason one: Facebook occurs typically American. So in the eyes of the local financial industry which is always sensitive to discretion, to large lane.
The Swiss big banks have a hard time with the new competition. On the question of whether you stand with a Libra in contact, receives Sunday look only on repeated demand an answer.

And the not – as, for example, in the case of Credit Suisse, rather cryptically: “it is true that we are as a Bank in the public crypto-currency sector, but we continue to monitor developments in the market and are striving to help our customers in this market to understand development from a Thought Leadership perspective.”

the risk is manageable. “The time plan of the project in view of the many political opposition and regulatory hurdles ambitious and difficult to implement,” says Cyril pine, a Partner and banking expert at business advisers Deloitte.

reason two for the subdued reception: Currently, too few practical Details are simply not known. “It is still too early to draw a conclusion about Libra,” writes, for example, Coop. You will be tested, but generally speaking, the Use of the new means of payment.

After all, when Federal happy about the influx of Facebook, which was founded Association. “The Federal Department of Finance was oriented from Facebook about the project and evaluates the project as a positive sign for Switzerland as a location,” writes Ueli Maurer’s state Secretariat for international financial matters.

the Federal Council, Maurer refused, however, to a comment.