Date
15 December 2019
Facebook's plan to launch a global cryptocurrency has drawn the attention of lawmakers and regulators around the world. Photo: Reuters
Facebook's plan to launch a global cryptocurrency has drawn the attention of lawmakers and regulators around the world. Photo: Reuters

US Senate panel calls hearing on Facebook crypto project

Facebook’s plans to create a global cryptocurrency will face scrutiny from the US Senate Banking Committee on July 16, as policymakers cast a wary eye on the project, Reuters reports.

The hearing will explore the project, dubbed Libra, as well as any data privacy considerations it may raise, the Congressional panel was quoted as saying on Wednesday.

Witnesses are yet to be announced, but David Marcus, who oversees Facebook’s blockchain efforts, is expected to testify, the report said.

The announcement comes one day after Facebook unveiled plans to launch a global cryptocurrency, which immediately attracted attention from regulators across the globe.

Representative Maxine Waters, the Democrat who chairs the House Financial Services Committee, said Tuesday that she plans to similarly call Facebook to testify, and asked the company to halt the project while policymakers studied it.

In May, the leaders of the Senate Banking Committee wrote to Facebook seeking information on rumors of its cryptocurrency project, and how it would protect consumer information.

On Tuesday, a Facebook representative said the company looks forward to answering lawmaker questions. 

Facebook hopes to launch the Libra in the first half of 2020. The company says it will not only power transactions between established consumers and businesses globally, but offer unbanked consumers access to financial services for the first time.

Before Tuesday’s announcement, Facebook was already facing significant backlash over mishandling user data and not doing enough to prevent Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election.

Those issues have led some government officials to call for Facebook to incur penalties, or be forcibly broken up, Reuters noted.

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