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The team inside Facebook (FB) developing its new Libra cryptocurrency platform has at least one friend inside President Donald Trump’s inner circle.
And considering how under attack Facebook is right now by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, having at least one supporter of a controversial new venture couldn’t hurt. “It’s interesting, because this [Facebook’s Libra] represents a new challenge for central bankers that they now have competition from private currencies,” conservative economist, Trump confidant and fellow at The Heritage Foundation Stephen Moore told Yahoo Finance.
Moore contends he has been “studying up on cryptocurrencies” and that central bankers best realize a world with credible cryptos “is coming.”
“I think on balance it’s a good thing [Facebook’s Libra],” Moore added.
Facebook took the wraps off its long awaited cryptocurrency project last week via a lengthy white paper. Dubbed Libra, the crypto will let people buy things or send money with no fees. Several big-name companies such as Uber, Lyft and PayPal are on board to support the rollout of the platform, which is expected to go live in the first half of 2020.
As no surprise, criticism and various concerns of Facebook entering financial services popped up all over the place.
“Big techs have the potential to become dominant through the advantages afforded by the data-network-activities loop, raising competition and data privacy issues. Public policy needs to build on a more comprehensive approach that draws on financial regulation, competition policy and data privacy regulation,” the Bank of International Settlements warned in a blog post on Sunday.
The agency continued, “The aim should be to respond to big techs' entry into financial services so as to benefit from the gains while limiting the risks. As the operations of big techs straddle regulatory perimeters and geographical borders, coordination among authorities — national and international — is crucial.”
Politicians line up to attack Facebook
Meanwhile, politicians in Washington DC haven’t wasted their moment to launch a new attack on Facebook.
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) told Yahoo Finance the launch of Libra can be viewed as Facebook “expanding their monopoly.”
“We need to see exactly what their specific proposals are, but I'm very concerned about Facebook's behavior on a range of fronts. I'm concerned about their size, I'm concerned about their anti-competitive conduct, I'm concerned about their rampant violations of privacy,” Hawley explained.
“With the announcement that it [Facebook] plans to create a cryptocurrency, Facebook is continuing its unchecked expansion and extending its reach into the lives of its users,” outspoken senator Maxine Waters (D-Calif,) said in a statement. Waters called for Facebook to temporarily halt its Libra development until lawmakers had time to assess the situation.
That’s unlikely to happen much to Waters’ disappointment. So as Moore said, lawmakers would be wise to realize Libra is coming... and start reading up on cryptocurrencies.