Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will be back in Washington D.C. to testify before Congress once again, this time in support of the platform’s Libra cryptocurrency.
Zuckerberg will be testifying as the sole witness in a U.S. House Committee of Financial Services hearing on October 23 titled “An Examination of Facebook and Its Impact on the Financial Services and Housing Sectors.” The hearing is regarding Facebook’s proposed cryptocurrency, Libra, and digital wallet, Calibra.
The session will focus on whether the cryptocurrency would operate as a rival to the U.S. dollar and if it poses any privacy, trading, national security, or monetary policy concerns. At a July hearing, a bill was drafted bearing the title, “Keep Big Tech Out of Finance Act” to address these concerns.
“The draft legislation prohibits large platform utilities, like Facebook, from becoming chartered, licensed, or registered as a U.S. financial institution (e.g. like taxpayer-backed banks, investment funds, and stock exchanges) or otherwise becoming affiliated with such financial institutions,” a press release from the U.S. House Committee of Financial Services says.
Digital Trends reached out to Facebook for a comment on the upcoming hearing but a Facebook spokesperson told CNET in a statement, “Mark looks forward to testifying before the House Financial Services Committee and responding to lawmakers’ questions.”
Facebook has been trying to launch its own cryptocurrency, but the chances of it happening appear to be growing slimmer. Last week, Visa, Mastercard, and PayPal were all reconsidering their involvement in Facebook’s scheme following regulatory scrutiny from lawmakers in both the U.S. and Europe. PayPal decided to end its participation in the Libra Association.
There are worries that the currency could be used in money laundering operations, and also that Facebook in launching the cryptocurrency may be trying to circumvent national and international financial regulations. But the biggest concern in practical terms is whether it is realistic or achievable for a company with a privacy record generously described as “spotty” to launch its own currency.
Zuckerberg was also at the capital last month to try to win Congress over despite his company’s many privacy mishaps. According to reports, Zuckerberg met with policymakers behind closed doors — likely trying to make a few more friends in Congress in the wake of harsh bipartisan criticism of both Facebook and Zuckerberg himself.
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