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No One Wants Facebook To Have Its Own Cryptocurrency

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It's not an easy feat, but Facebook managed to get leaders on both sides of the aisle to come together today to tell the social media company that nobody wants them to have their own cryptocurrency. Nobody. Cryptic Meanings Back in June, Facebook announced plans to launch its own cryptocurrency called Libra next year, and it recently launched Calibri, a new subsidiary that would create a digital wallet for the coin. But Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell wasn’t so hot on the idea in a Congressional committee meeting last week, and this week hasn’t gone much easier, as David Marcus, who leads Facebook’s cryptocurrency initiative, was questioned for more than two hours. Bad Reputation The main obstacle Facebook has is, well, Facebook. After the whole Cambridge Analytica debacle, lawmakers and shareholders (many of whom have called for Mark Zuckerberg to be removed from his role as chair) are having a tough time trusting the company. Representative Maxine Waters wasn’t having it, noting “Facebook let Russia manipulate voters and put Trump in the White House. Now they want to create their own currency?” and Senator Sherrod Brown said “We would be crazy to give them a chance to experiment with people’s bank accounts, and to use powerful tools they don’t understand, like monetary policy.” Across The Aisle But it’s not just Democrats who are wary. Donald Trump isn’t into it either, and as Matthew Stoller of the Open Markets Institute noted, Libra even makes finance-friendly, deregulation types like Congressman Greg Meeks nervous. Swiss Miss Marcus was largely evasive, simply not answering questions at times, but told lawmakers that Facebook was sorry for all the previous goof-ups. And that because Libra would be based in Switzerland, the country’s data protection agency would oversee data and privacy protections. This is apparently news to Switzerland. -Michael Tedder Photo: Mike Segar / RUETERS

It's not an easy feat, but Facebook managed to get leaders on both sides of the aisle to come together today to tell the social media company that nobody wants them to have their own cryptocurrency. Nobody. Cryptic Meanings Back in June, Facebook announced plans to launch its own cryptocurrency called Libra next year, and it recently launched Calibri, a new subsidiary that would create a digital wallet for the coin. But Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell wasn’t so hot on the idea in a Congressional committee meeting last week, and this week hasn’t gone much easier, as David Marcus, who leads Facebook’s cryptocurrency initiative, was questioned for more than two hours. Bad Reputation The main obstacle Facebook has is, well, Facebook. After the whole Cambridge Analytica debacle, lawmakers and shareholders (many of whom have called for Mark Zuckerberg to be removed from his role as chair) are having a tough time trusting the company. Representative Maxine Waters wasn’t having it, noting “Facebook let Russia manipulate voters and put Trump in the White House. Now they want to create their own currency?” and Senator Sherrod Brown said “We would be crazy to give them a chance to experiment with people’s bank accounts, and to use powerful tools they don’t understand, like monetary policy.” Across The Aisle But it’s not just Democrats who are wary. Donald Trump isn’t into it either, and as Matthew Stoller of the Open Markets Institute noted, Libra even makes finance-friendly, deregulation types like Congressman Greg Meeks nervous. Swiss Miss Marcus was largely evasive, simply not answering questions at times, but told lawmakers that Facebook was sorry for all the previous goof-ups. And that because Libra would be based in Switzerland, the country’s data protection agency would oversee data and privacy protections. This is apparently news to Switzerland. -Michael Tedder Photo: Mike Segar / RUETERS