Facebook set for grilling on Libra cryptocurrency

Facebook is set to face further scrutiny on its ambitions to launch a cryptocurrency after “very serious concerns” were raised by senior US government members.

The company is set to be questioned by the US Senate Banking Committee over its Libra cryptocurrency as the government looks to clarify its stance on the technology. Head of Messenger and Vice President of Messaging Products at Facebook David Marcus will take to the stand to face questioning from government officials on the company's plans.

Facebook is set to launch both Libra and its Calibra digital wallet next year, but has been tight-lipped on what form both offerings will actually take. It has said it won't launch Libra until all of the regulatory issues are addressed.

Libra hearing

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told a press conference today said the Treasury Department has “very serious concerns” that Libra could be used by money launderers, terrorist financiers and other criminals. 

This follows the department seeing other leading cryptocurrencies abused to fund a wide range of illegal activities around the world, and fears that this may grow if Facebook launches a new offering on its global platform.

Despite this, Mnuchin added that the US “welcomes responsible innovation, including new technologies that may improve the efficiency of the financial system and expand access to financial services.”

“With respect to Facebook's Libra and other developments in cryptocurrencies, our overriding goal is to maintain the integrity of our financial system and protect it from abuse,” Mnuchin said.

The news came days after President Trump tweeted his opposition to cryptocurrencies in general, noting that he was “not a fan” as they were “not money” and “highly volatile and based on thin air.”

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