‘I am, inevitable’, that is exactly what the US Senate would have pronounced the moment Facebook’s crypto plans were publicly out. Facebook Inc’s plans to create a global cryptocurrency named Libra and a digital wallet app will face skepticism from the U.S. Senate Banking Committee on July 16, multiple reports said.
The social network’s plans for a new cryptocurrency will come under the scrutiny of regulators shortly after it declared its plans on Tuesday, which immediately attracted attention from regulators worldwide, and cynicism from Washington.
The hearing will explore the project and it’s potential impact on the finance industry. It will also check for data privacy considerations, it may raise in future, the committee said on Wednesday. No witnesses have been announced yet, but it is likely that David Marcus, who oversees Facebook’s blockchain efforts, will testify.
Representative Maxine Waters, the Democrat who chairs the House Financial Services Committee, said on Tuesday that she called 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 asking details on rumors of its cryptocurrency project, and how it would secure consumer data.
The company looked forward to answering lawmaker questions, a Facebook representative said on Tuesday. However, the company did not immediately comment, when asked about July 16 hearing.
Interestingly, US alone isn’t the country wherein Facebook will face scrutiny over its global crypto roll out. Countries like India and China — constituting the largest pie of global digital payments and internet users — have already put bans over mining and dealing of cryptocurrency. India’s bans have been so stringent, that several startup founders have found themselves temporarily behind bars for operating startups in the crypto domain.
Facebook plans to launch the Libra in the first half of 2020. It hopes that Libra will facilitate daily transactions between established consumers and businesses globally, along with offering financial services to the unbanked for the first time.
Facebook has already been facing significant retaliation over misusing it’s user data and not taking enough action to curb Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Government officials have rather publicly called for penalizing Facebook for the same.