Facebook Won’t Participate in Libra Launch unless Congress Gives Greenlight, Says Zuckerberg

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by Tolu Ajiboye · 3 min read
Facebook Won’t Participate in Libra Launch unless Congress Gives Greenlight, Says Zuckerberg
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Mark Zuckerberg is to address the House Financial Services Committee today on the issue of its Libra concerns.

In an effort to ensure that Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency breaks down regulatory walls and launches on time or at least not too far from the earlier planned launch date, the social media giant is willing to make some compromises.

In a testimony recently submitted to the House Financial Service Committee, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has confirmed to U.S. lawmakers that Facebook itself will not handle Libra, suggesting that the Libra Association which is the body tasked with the role of governing the asset, will have full control without influence from Facebook or Zuckerberg himself.

Specifically, Zuckerberg states that Facebook has decided it will “be a part of launching the Libra payments system anywhere in the world” only if Congress agrees. The testimony also touched on other problems Congress has raised about the Libra regarding financial stability, interference with U.S. monetary policy and the use of cryptocurrency to aid terrorism.

It might be interesting to note (and definitely not a coincidence) that throughout the testimony, Zuckerberg strictly avoids using any of the most popular words in the growing sector, which could be triggering for members of Congress. Words such as “Bitcoin” and “cryptocurrency” were visibly excluded and instead, the CEO focuses on the ease with which Libra will be used.

“The idea behind Libra is that sending money should be as easy and secure as sending a text message. Libra will be a global payments system, fully backed by a reserve of cash and other highly liquid assets,” the text reads.

The testimony already submitted by Zuckerberg is to acquaint Congress with the CEO’s proposed line of response, ahead of a public hearing before the House Financial Services Committee in Capitol Hill. The hearing, if Zuckerberg scales through, would most likely be a major game-changer in the Libra journey and could probably the factor that informs the Congress’ decision on which way to go on the Libra matter.

Zuckerberg however admits that even though he understands that people are skeptical about Facebook handling such a powerful project because of the many issues the company has faced in recent times, the social media giant is passionate about giving people a voice to “express what matters to them, and to build businesses that create opportunity” and puts “power in people’s hands.” Nevertheless, he warns that if the U.S. doesn’t get on the trend quickly, other countries or even private institutions outside of the U.S. government’s jurisdiction would lead.

According to Zuckerberg, “a digital payment system is going to be important in the future. If America doesn’t lead on this, others will. Foreign companies or countries may act without the same regulatory oversight or commitment to transparency that we have.”

A few months ago, David Marcus who is the head of the Libra project survived several hours of grilling by the Congress on the matter and at the time, Facebook was even officially asked to suspend progress on the project. Marcus assured Congress that the Libra team intends to satisfy authorities before the launch next year and now, Zuckerberg has also said that the launch could possibly be postponed “until it has fully addressed US regulatory concerns”.

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Tolu Ajiboye
Author Tolu Ajiboye

Tolu is a cryptocurrency and blockchain enthusiast based in Lagos. He likes to demystify crypto stories to the bare basics so that anyone anywhere can understand without too much background knowledge. When he's not neck-deep in crypto stories, Tolu enjoys music, loves to sing and is an avid movie lover.

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