US Senate banking committee to grill Facebook over Libra in July
The US Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs has scheduled a hearing on Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency, industry website Coindesk has reported.
The hearing, which is scheduled for July 16, will seemingly examine the digital coin and its possible implications with regards to data privacy. The development comes a few weeks after the banking committee wrote an open letter to Facebook, asking for details about the company’s work on the, still unannounced at the time, crypto project. The letter raised a number of questions regarding the project, including how would the system work and what privacy and consumer protections would users have under the system.
Since Facebook’s official Libra announcement on Tuesday, other US lawmakers have also raised questions about the project. Maxine Waters, the head of the House of Representatives Financial Services Committee, indicated that the committee wants to have a hearing regarding Libra and asked Facebook to temporarily halt development on the project until such hearing was held. Waters expressed concerns over Facebook’s “unchecked expansion” and the lack of “clear regulatory framework to provide strong protections for investors, consumers and the economy” when it comes to cryptocurrencies.
The project has also prompted a reaction from some high-ranking European officials. France’s finance minister Bruno Le Maire rejected the notion that Libra could become a sovereign currency, while Bank of England governor Mark Carney indicated that regulators would closely examine the technology.
The Libra cryptocurrency will be backed by a basket of low-volatility assets to ensure that the coin’s value remains relatively stable. The coin will run on a proprietary blockchain called the Libra Blockchain and would be governed by an independent consortium based in Geneva, Switzerland. The consortium, called Libra Association, currently has 28 members, including major companies such as Visa, Mastercard and Vodafone Group.
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