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(Reuters) — Facebook-backed cryptocurrency Libra has been rebranded “Diem” in a renewed effort to gain regulatory approval by stressing the project’s independence.
Plans for Libra, first floated by Facebook last year, were slimmed down in April after regulators and central banks raised concerns it could upend financial stability, erode control over monetary policy, and threaten privacy.
Tuesday’s name switch is part of a move to emphasize a simpler, revamped structure, Geneva-based Diem Association CEO Stuart Levey said.
“The original name was tied to an early iteration of the project that received a difficult reception from regulators. We have dramatically changed that proposition,” Levey told Reuters.
Diem, which means “day” in Latin, now aims to initially launch a single dollar-backed digital coin, he added.
He declined to comment on timing for the launch, which the Financial Times reported last week could be as early as January. Levey said only that the launch would only go ahead after approval by the Swiss market watchdog.
Facebook, which changed the name of its payments unit Calibra to “Novi Financial” in May, remains one of 27 members of the Diem Association, formerly the Libra Association. Novi head David Marcus is one of Diem’s five board members.
“They are a critically important member of the association,” Levey said of Facebook’s continuing involvement.
“We are not trying to cut all ties, by any stretch. It (the name change) is to signify that the association is operating autonomously and independently,” he added.
Diem aims to set itself apart with its focus on aspects of concern to regulators and Western governments, including sanction controls and financial crime, Levey said.
The group behind Diem has said they would develop policies for sanctions compliance and to fight money laundering and terrorist financing. They added that the project has ditched earlier plans to allow anyone to join its network.
(Reporting by Anna Irrera and Tom Wilson in London. Editing by Alexander Smith.)
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