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Facebook’s Calibra Digital Wallet Will Not Be Available in Its Largest Markets

Facebook’s Calibra digital wallet will not be available in some of the social network’s largest markets, including India, according to a TechCrunch report on June 19.

A spokesperson told the website:

“The libra blockchain will be global, but it will be up to custodial wallet providers to determine where they will and will not operate. Calibra won’t be available in U.S.-sanctioned countries or countries that ban cryptocurrencies.”

Estimates by Statista suggest there were 260 million Facebook users in India as of April this year — far ahead of the tech giant’s second-largest market, the United States.

Earlier this month, Indian lawmakers proposed tough new regulations that could see citizens face a 10-year jail term if they deal in cryptocurrencies.

Facebook intends to make Calibra available through a specially created app and via its WhatsApp and Messenger platforms. At present, India is the only market where a separate payments service — WhatsApp Pay — is available.

Announcing its Libra cryptocurrency and Calibra wallet, Facebook made clear that it wanted to reach unbanked consumers and give them access to financial services. However, this development could mean that India, home to the second-largest unbanked population in the world, misses out when Libra launches in the first half of next year.

Facebook’s global stablecoin will be backed by a reserve of assets to help protect it against the volatility often seen with other cryptocurrencies. Mastercard, PayPal and Visa are among the founding members of the governing Libra Association.

The project is facing resistance from other countries. Rep. Maxine Waters, who chairs the House of Representatives’ Financial Services Committee in the U.S., has urged Facebook to halt development “until Congress and regulators have the opportunity to examine [it.]”

Chairman of the Russian State Duma Committee on Financial Market Anatoly Aksakov has also said that Libra will not be legalized in the country.

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