Facebook’s blockchain chief David Marcus said that the social media giant “will not offer” its proposed digital currency Libra “until we have fully addressed regulator’s concerns and received the proper approvals”.
Marcus made the comment during yesterday’s congressional hearing on Libra, where he also assured lawmakers that Facebook was “fully committed to working with regulators” in the US and around the world. The hearing before the House Financial Services Committee came just a day after Marcus had been questioned by the Senate Banking Committee.
A spokesman for Facebook subsequently told CNN Business that Marcus’ comment meant that Facebook would not offer ways for users to access Libra, although the cryptocurrency might still launch.
During the hearing, the chair of the committee, Maxine Waters, said that she had “serious concerns with Facebook’s plans”, adding that if those plans “come to fruition, the company and its partners will wield immense economic power that could destabilize currencies and governments”.
Facebook’s newly-launched blockchain subsidiary Calibra, which is led by Marcus, is just one of the members of the Geneva-based consortium that will oversee the project. Currently the consortium called Libra Association has 28 “founding members”, including big companies such as Visa, MasterCard, Uber Technologies and Vodafone Group. The group wants to have around 100 members by the time Libra launches.
Not all members of the committee were so apprehensive about the Libra project. Patrick McHenry argued that it was important to make sure that Washington “not the place where innovation goes to die”.
“Republicans stand ready to work with innovators to successfully implement responsible technology here in the United States, here domestically, before we lose out to other parts of the world,” he said.
To this Waters responded that while both republicans and democrats on the committee were in favour of innovation, “we need to get on top of something as massive and important as this project”.
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