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Senate banking committee sets July date to hold hearing on Facebook Libra coin

Mark DeCambre

The Senate Banking committee on Wednesday set July 16 as the date to hold a hearing centered on Facebook Inc.'s Libra coin, an ambitious cryptocurrency venture led by the social-media giant that is intended as a frictionless way to to make payments over the internet using blockchain technology. The hearing titled "Examining Facebook's Proposed Digital Currency and Data Privacy Considerations," comes after a number of Congressional lawmakers a day ago demanded that Facebook , which is leading the digital-payments venture, delay its attempt to roll out the cryptocurrency by the second half of 2020 as planned, while legislators review possible risks to consumers. House Financial Services Committee head Maxine Waters on Tuesday said Facebook "is continuing its unchecked expansion and extending its reach into the lives of its users." The social-media outfit is wrestling with privacy concerns following its Cambridge Analytica scandal. On Tuesday, Facebook said: "We look forward to responding to lawmakers' questions as this process moves forward." Facebook has been meeting with regulators about its cryptocurrency plans, according to the Wall Street Journal, which reported that Facebook officials have met with Securities and Exchange Commission as its prepares to kick off Libra Coin with more than two dozen partners, including payment company PayPal Inc. [sL PYPL], ride-hailing apps Uber Technologies Inc. and Lyft Inc. , as well as credit card company Mastercard Inc. among many others. Many view this crypto as a powerful way for Facebook to tap into its 2.5 billion monthly active users. Libra coin won't be owned by Facebook and will be governed by a consortium of qualified global partners, with the intention of creating an independent payment system that has the benefits of the immutable ledger technology behind cryptos but none of the price vagaries of bitcoin because the digital asset will be pegged to a basket of fiat currencies like the dollar and euro , for example. Facebook's shares finished 0.5% lower on Wednesday, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average , the S&P 500 index and the Nasdaq Composite Index all finished in the session in positive territory.