Distrust of Facebook reigns at the Senate Banking Committee

The head of Facebook’s Calibra cryptocurrency wallet, David Marcus, met with the Senate Banking Committee today. He was adamant that the U.S. should absolutely be the world leader in setting standards for cryptocurrency. He insisted that Libra will comply with all U.S. regulations, and will not launch until all regulator’s concerns have been addressed. Even so, the general tenor of the hearing was one of acrimony and distrust. The members of the committee pounded Marcus, putting him under a continual assault as a reprisal of the shellacking that Facebook CEO and Founder Mark Zuckerberg took in earlier this year. Marcus tried to absolve Facebook of responsibility by claiming they are only one of 28 current Libra association members, and that there will be potentially 100 major companies and organizations involved with the proliferation of the stable coin. He claimed that Facebook alone will not have to be trusted, which further incurred the wrath of several Senators, who were absolutely livid in recounting all of their deep concerns about the monumental risks that Facebook would be subjecting to the world financial system.

Marcus related that the Libra Association chose to be headquartered in Switzerland “not to evade any responsibilities of oversight” but since it’s where international financial groups like the Bank for International Settlements are located. He maintained though that Calibra will be regulated by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. This did little to alleviate the Senators’ concerns as they continued to apply pressure to Marcus, which he seemed to take in stride, as the seasoned Big Tech diplomat and evangelist that he is. His claim that he would accept his compensation in Libra, did little to allay the fears of the assembled politicians. Regulatory, the use of data, and privacy concerns were paramount in the mind of those that grilled him. After the recent debacle with the Cambridge Analytica scandal, trust in Facebook is at an all time low, and the fact that they are trying to enter the crypto sphere now is both audacious and threatening. Their untrammeled growth into the financial services sector has both government and the banking system on high alert.