The cryptocurrency world is buzzing right now. Bitcoin has gone up in value, hinting at a possible crypto bull market, and Facebook is making waves with rumors about its new Libra stablecoin. Some also believe that the two could be related. Not everyone seems happy, though, about these developments. Some US lawmakers are taking aim at Mark Zuckerberg and his social media giant in an effort to stall the launch of Libra.
Facebook Libra – The Rumors
What almost everyone in the cryptocurrency community suspected has now been confirmed. For months there have been rumors that Facebook was developing its own cryptocurrency and blockchain platform. Remember all those phony statuses that used to warn users that Facebook was going to start charging for its service? It may not do that, but it is sure going to make cryptocurrency transactions a part of its platform with Libra Coin.
Project Libra has been acknowledged as Facebook’s ultra-secret blockchain development endeavor. The rumors state that the token will launch sometime in the first half of 2020. It has also been confirmed that the headquarters of the token will be Geneva, Switzerland.
The announcement doesn’t take many crypto investors by surprise. Rumors have been swirling for many months that Zuckerberg and company wanted to throw their hat into the crypto market. The confirmation of the project sure seems to explain Facebook’s past decision to ban ICO advertising for crypto tokens. It appears that they just wanted to jumpstart their silencing of the competition.
Some people are very excited at the prospect of a Facebook cryptocurrency. Many investors believe that this confirmation of Facebook Libra is even responsible for the uptick in the price of Bitcoin. There are others, though, who aren’t very happy about the possibility of Facebook essentially creating its own sovereign currency that is expected to be a direct rival to the US dollar. Zuckerberg has now found himself in the crosshairs of a very formidable foe – the United States government.
Senate Schedules Hearings on Facebook Libra
On June 24, 2019 Rep. Maxine Waters issued a public statement that was nothing less than a warning to Facebook. In the statement Waters called for a moratorium on Libra’s development. She essentially stated that Congress should be given the opportunity to stick its nose in Facebook’s business, and Waters did not mince words.
“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,” Waters said.
Maxine Waters just delivered the equivalent of a cease and desist order to Mark Zuckerberg.
The statement is telling and important for several reasons. First of all, Waters references Facebook’s “troubled past” in her statement. What she is referring to are the problems Facebook had with user privacy. Those problems culminated in Zuckerberg testifying before a congressional committee and a promise to address issues in the future.
Of course, there is subtext here. Maxine Waters is one of the most outspoken critics of President Donald Trump. She supports the President’s impeachment due to Russian interference in the 2016 election. It has been confirmed that Russia did indeed attempt to influence the outcome of the election by creating fake social media profiles and making posts. The Facebook platform was one of the outlets used by Russian operatives accord to the report created by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
Waters goes on to say that Congress wants to “examine these issues and take action” in her statement. That sure sounds a lot like government regulation and oversight, and that might be exactly what she has in mind.
Facebook Libra Congressional Hearing Set for July 17, 2019
A hearing before the House Financial Services Committee has been scheduled for July 17, 2019. The hearing is being held to examine the Libra project and Facebook’s involvement. Waters appears to believe that Mark Zuckerberg has nefarious plans in mind for his Facebook’s cryptocurrency.
Regulators are being advised by Waters to view Facebook Libra as “a wake up call to get serious about the privacy and national security concerns, cybersecurity risks, and trading risks that are posed by cryptocurrencies.”
It sure sounds like Waters is not a fan of Bitcoin and other digital tokens.
Could this be the first domino to fall in the ultimate regulation of cryptocurrency? It is no secret that governments don’t like decentralized currencies like Bitcoin because they cannot control them. There have been efforts to stem the tide of deregulated currencies, and some have been successful. The Securities and Exchange Commission has been successful in forcing crypto exchanges to comply with certain regulations.
Zuckerberg for President!
There are even some people who are suggesting that Mark Zuckerberg has his eyes on the White House. They think that launching Facebook Libra is some elaborate scheme to fund his eventual campaign. While this is a ludicrous idea, it would be amusing to see Zuckerberg attempt to become President so he could advance the cause of Libra.
We’re making light of these developments, but this is a serious issue. For starters, no such prior attempt has been made to directly confront a crypto development project. If the US government is successful in stalling the project it could open a Pandora’s Box for future development projects.
Most would agree that the moment the government gets involved with cryptocurrencies, the market is over as we know it. Prices would likely go down as governments attempted to stabilize digital currency through regulation. Waters has even stated that she views Facebook Libra as a direct threat to the USD. How long will it be before other governments take the same approach.
International Task Force to Address Cryptocurrency
France has recently spearheaded an effort to create an international task force that will focus on the regulation of cryptocurrency. The task force is a G7 committee which will be headed by Benoit Coeure, a member of the European Central Bank.
All of these developments should be warning signs to investors in cryptocurrency. In a few months time investors may be looking back on Facebook Libra as a bad thing for Bitcoin and other digital tokens. In the meantime, the next month is sure to be an entertaining one for crypto investors.