The Libra Association, which was formed to oversee the company’s digital currency initiatives, including the digital currency Libra, announced hiring a former banking regulator and industry veteran as general counsel for its payments subsidiary. According to its official release, the association announced the appointment of Saumya Bhavsar for the position of General Counsel of Libra Networks, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Association.
Bhavskar had previously worked within top U.S. and EU banks and regulatory agencies where she reportedly led legal teams that advised on and ensured compliance with cross-border regulations, settlement agreements with US authorities as well as significant merger transactions. Most recently, she served as a Managing Director, Global Head of Regulatory Affairs, and Group Head of the Data Protection Office at Credit Suisse for three years.
Following the development, Bhavskar stated,
“I am thrilled to be joining the Libra Association as it progresses toward enabling a more inclusive global financial system. Along with many in the banking industry, I have been watching the Libra project from afar and believe the Libra payment system is poised to transform the industry and enable unprecedented financial innovation and inclusion at a time when we need it most.”
Bhavsar’s two decades of experience in banking regulation across the public and private sectors, extensive knowledge of banking, securities, and privacy laws and regulations would be crucial for the Facebook-backed project that has been facing regulatory headwinds at seemingly every turn.
Libra Association, the independent member organization building a blockchain-powered payment system to advance financial inclusion and financial services innovation, was established back in 2019. The project has had a rocky start. Its association with the Mark Zuckerberg-led social networking site further proved to be damaging taking given Facebook’s history of selling users’ data without their knowledge. It faced extreme scrutiny from regulators, politicians, and potential users.
Recently the European Central Bank has warned that financial stability and data privacy could be under threat from digital currencies issued by giant technology companies such as Facebook’s Libra. Despite the backlash, it is important to acknowledge that the proposed permissioned blockchain-based payment system did prompt the central banks to wake up to central bank digital currencies [CBDCs]