- Democrats are asking Facebook to put Libra, its ambitious cryptocurrency project, on hold.
- Members of the House Financial Services Committee wrote to the company to ask for a moratorium on the development of Libra.
- They want time to explore concerns including hacking, national security, and risks to global financial security.
Democrats on the US House Financial Services Committee have asked Facebook to put its cryptocurrency plans on hold in a new setback for the nascent project.
On Tuesday, representatives Maxine Waters, Carolyn Maloney, Lacy Clay, Al Green, and Stephen Lynch wrote to the $556 billion social network’s top executives to ask it to impose a moratorium on Libra until regulators and Congress have had time to explore concerns including the risk of hacking, data security, and global financial security.
“We write to request that Facebook and its partners immediately agree to a moratorium on any movement forward on Libra — its proposed cryptocurrency and Calibra — its proposed digital wallet,” the politicians wrote. “It appears that these products may lend themselves to an entirely new global financial system that is based out of Switzerland and intends to rival US monetary currency and the dollar.
“This raises serious privacy, trading, national security, and monetary policy concerns for not only Facebook’s over 2 billion users, but also for investors, consumers, and the global economy.”
Democrats on the House Financial Services Committee ask @facebook to halt their plans to launch a cryptocurrency —> pic.twitter.com/8NGZ1xHj4t
— Frank Thorp V (@frankthorp) July 2, 2019
Libra is Facebook’s brainchild, and the company has led the early development of the product, but the plan is to surrender control to an independent organisation led by what is hoped will be a consortium of more than 100 member companies. A few dozen partners have tentatively signed on with that consortium thus far, including MasterCard, Visa, Uber, Spotify, and Coinbase.
The vision for Libra is a digital currency without borders that will let users send money and pay for things cheaply and easily, with Facebook integrating it into its messaging apps like WhatsApp and Messenger, and building a digital wallet for consumers called Calibra.
But Facebook has faced immediate skepticism over the project, in part because of its track record of scandals. The company has spent the last two years lurching from crisis to crisis — from Cambridge Analytica’s misappropriation of tens of millions of users’ data to the social network’s role in spreading hate speech that fueled genocide in Myanmar.
Waters first called for a moratorium of Libra in June, less than a day after it was announced, which the company rejected. A Facebook spokesperson rejected this idea at the time, saying: “We look forward to responding to lawmakers’ questions as this process moves forward.”
A spokesperson did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment after Tuesday’s request.
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