Facebook's blockchain boss David Marcus is pushing back against critics of the company's planned digital currency Libra, telling US lawmakers that Libra will be "the broadest, most extensive, and most careful pre-launch oversight by regulators and central banks in FinTech's history" — and that Facebook will not launch it until it has "fully addressed regulatory concerns."
Marcus is due to testify before the United States Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs on Tuesday, and the committee on Monday released a copy of the prepared remarks he is due to give at the start of the session.
In the remarks, the former PayPal president attempts to assuage lawmakers' concerns about the potential impact of Libra, which faced immediate scrutiny and calls for a moratorium after it was announced with a white paper this year (the currency itself is currently scheduled to launch in 2020).
The Libra Association, the separate organization that will manage the cryptocurrency, is based in Switzerland and as such will be supervised by Swiss regulators, Marcus says in the prepared remarks, and will also comply with US anti-money-laundering regulation.
Marcus also hints that if regulators and lawmakers block Libra, another cryptocurrency that is less amenable to government oversight might ultimately fill the niche it is targeting: "I believe that if America does not lead innovation in the digital currency and payments area, others will. If we fail to act, we could soon see a digital currency controlled by others whose values are dramatically different ... I also believe that [Libra] can provide an opportunity for leadership consistent with our shared values."
Facebook doesn't intend to turn a profit on the digital currency, he says in the remarks — at least at the start. "We do not expect [Facebook's digital wallet software] Calibra to make money at the outset, and Calibra customers' account and financial information will not be shared with Facebook, Inc., and as a result cannot be used for ad targeting."
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