^

Business

Facebook’s Zuckerberg open to scaling back digital currency plan

Agence France-Presse

WASHINGTON — Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg opened the door Wednesday to scaling back plans for the company’s digital coin Libra, if it cannot win approval as a new currency for global exchanges.

Zuckerberg made the comments as he faced a torrent of criticism on Capitol Hill over the cryptocurrency Facebook is seeking to roll out next year.

“We clearly have not locked down exactly how this is going to work yet,” Zuckerberg told members of the House Financial Service Committee.

“The goal of Libra is to build a global payment system rather than a currency.”

He acknowledged that Libra could be limited to digital payment systems using individual currencies -- a less ambitious plan than creating a new coin linked to a basket of major currencies.

“I personally am much more focused on being able to help innovate and build a global payment system than I am in any specific makeup of what a currency or reserve might look like,” he said.

Libra is backed by an alliance of companies in a nonprofit, Swiss-based association, but some lawmakers are skeptical about the project, and want Facebook instead to focus on data privacy.

Zuckerberg repeated his pledge that the digital coin would not launch without full regulatory approvals and added that Facebook would quit the alliance if it launches prematurely.

Asked whether Libra could simply be linked to the US dollar, Zuckerberg said “the community is fairly split on this point.”

He said that it could be far simpler from a regulatory perspective but that “it may be less welcome in other places if it’s only 100 percent based on the dollar.”

Lawmakers did not hold back in their harsh criticism of Facebook’s data practices and doubts about Libra in particular.

“It would be beneficial for all if Facebook concentrates on addressing its many existing deficiencies and failures before proceeding any further on the Libra project,” Rep. Maxine Waters, who chairs the panel, said at the opening.

On Twitter, Waters ramped up her criticism of Facebook and pledged to block the digital currency plan.

“No one is above the law including Mark Zuckerberg,” Waters tweeted.

“Facebook has allowed election interference, released private data, violated civil rights laws, among other offenses and now they’re trying to launch a #BigTechTakeover by creating this mysterious #ZuckBuck? Not on my watch!” 

Several other lawmakers also took the occasion to question the trustworthiness of the world’s largest social network.

“In order to make a decision about Libra, we need to kind to dig into your past behavior and Facebook’s behavior with respect to our democracy,” said Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who peppered Zuckerberg with questions about the Cambridge Analytica scandal and Facebook’s decision not to fact-check political ads.

FACEBOOK

MARK ZUCKERBERG

Philstar
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

FORGOT PASSWORD?
SIGN IN
or sign in with
no session for state
no session for code
no session for id_token
no session for user