Facebook urged to halt Libra

Project comes under fire from US lawmakers who want to examine plans thoroughly before giving it the green light

A senior US lawmaker has insisted Facebook halts its Libra crypto project until Congress has had the opportunity to scrutinise it.

Little more than 24 hours after the social media giant announced its global project to launch Libra in 2020, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (pictured) has urged Calibra – the Facebook subsidiary overseeing the project – to hit the brake pedal.

Waters, chair of the House Financial Services Committee (HFSC), says Congress needed to examine the scheme closely.

“Given the company’s troubled past, I am requesting that Facebook agree to a moratorium on any movement forward on developing a cryptocurrency until Congress and regulators have the opportunity to examine these issues and take action,” she announced.

Congresswoman Waters said Facebook’s current woes over its privacy policies and data usage were among her chief concerns.

A Facebook spokesman responded to the HFSC call succinctly. “We look forward to responding to policymakers’ questions as this process moves forward,” a statement read.

‘Too powerful’

The cautionary warning from the HFSC was supported by US Senator Sherrod Brown, who said he believed Facebook was becoming “too big and too powerful”.

The senior member of the Senate Banking Committee said: “We cannot allow Facebook to run a risky new cryptocurrency out of a Swiss bank account without oversight.”

Facebook’s shares spiked yesterday after the announcement was broken on coinrivet.com.

The California-based organisation, which stands to profit massively from its venture into cryptocurrency, claimed it launched the Libra project under Calibra to provide financial opportunities to the world’s economically challenged communities.

“For many people around the world, even basic financial services are still out of reach: almost half of the adults in the world don’t have an active bank account, and those numbers are worse in developing countries and even worse for women,” Facebook’s announcement read.

“The cost of that exclusion is high — approximately 70% of small businesses in developing countries lack access to credit, and $25 billion is lost by migrants every year through remittance fees.

“This is the challenge we’re hoping to address with Calibra, a new digital wallet that you’ll be able to use to save, send, and spend Libra.”

READ LIBRA’S WHITE PAPER IN FULL…

 

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