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Germany's Scholz sounds alarm on cryptocurrencies such as Facebook's Libra


BERLIN (Reuters) - German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said on Tuesday regulators must ensure that cryptocurrencies such as Facebook's planned digital coin Libra do not threaten financial stability and consumer privacy.

Facebook, which said in June it hoped to launch Libra in 2020, has faced criticism from regulators and politicians who have cited concerns about security, money laundering and consumer protection.

"The issuance of a currency does not belong in the hands of a private company because this is a core element of state sovereignty," Scholz said ahead of a G7 meeting in France later this week.

"The euro is and remains the only legal means of payment in the euro area," Scholz said. Berlin was coordinating its efforts internationally with its allies to ensure financial stability, consumer protection and the prevention of entry-gates for money laundering and terrorist financing, he added.

Facebook has said it will not proceed with the launch until regulatory concerns are addressed.

The Libra Association, a group of companies behind Libra, will be headquartered in Geneva and it is in preliminary talks with the Swiss Financial Markets Supervisory Authority on a regulatory framework.

Facebook is one of 28 founding members of the Association.

(Reporting by Michael Nienaber; Editing by Madeline Chambers/Douglas Busvine/Jane Merriman)

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