Regulators line up to denounce Facebook for its cryptocurrency project
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Regulators line up to denounce Facebook for its cryptocurrency project

Libra is designed to improve on the slow, costly and painful process of transferring money across borders through the banking system, but Facebook faces a long fight to launch it.


David Marcus before the Senate banking committee

Big tech executives are getting a taste for life as regulated organizations.

It remains to be seen how much they like it and whether they think it’s worth the candle for the extra revenue handling payments may bring.

On Tuesday, David Marcus, head of Calibra – the Facebook subsidiary designing a new global cryptocurrency for retail and business users – appeared before the Senate banking committee and tried to order back the tide of disapproval that has overwhelmed the Libra project since its announcement in June.

Steve Mnuchin US treasury-160x186

Steven Mnuchin,
US Treasury

The scene had been set the day before by US Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin, when he made clear that “the Treasury department has expressed very serious concerns that Libra could be misused by money launderers and terrorist financiers”.

Casting the Facebook project in with bitcoin and other virtual currencies, Mnuchin declared: “This is indeed a national security issue.”

The Treasury secretary is, of course, following his boss.

Tariff Man had used Twitter to confess himself “not a fan of Bitcoin and other Cryptocurrencies, which are not money, and whose value is highly volatile and based on thin air”, adding that “similarly, Facebook Libra’s ‘virtual currency’ will have little standing or dependability.

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