Facebook is willing to delay its entrance into the cryptocurrency market to work with regulators, Facebook executive David Marcus said in prepared remarks ahead of Congressional hearings on Libra this week.
Marcus’ statement is Facebook’s strongest indication yet of its desire to work with regulators on Libra’s development. The company knew Libra might be a hard sell when it announced the digital currency last month, which is why it decided to share the news so far ahead of Libra’s planned launch early next year.
But Libra has been harshly received. Politicians on the left and right have expressed skepticism that Facebook, already under attack by regulators around the world over privacy concerns, can be trusted with a digital currency.
President Donald Trump has attacked Facebook (FB), claiming that Libra threatens the status of the dollar. Federal Reserve chief Jerome Powell said the central bank is looking into how to regulate cryptocurrency. And a group of legislators asked Facebook (FB) to halt Libra’s development to give them time to evaluate the project, something the company has not said it will do.
This week, Libra will get a very public examination in a pair of hearings on Capitol Hill.
The hearings will bring lawmakers closer to determining the fate of an effort that could fundamentally change financial and payment systems globally. The Libra announcement also spurred a broader conversation about the need to regulate cryptocurrencies, something lawmakers now look to be in a hurry to do.
Marcus, who headed up Libra for Facebook, is scheduled to testify before the Senate banking committee on Tuesday and the House financial services committee on Wednesday. He will likely be asked about privacy, money laundering, consumer protection and the stability of the financial system, all issues lawmakers say Libra raises. Marcus’ testimony suggests the company is willing to work with legislators to address those concerns.
“Facebook will not offer the Libra digital currency until we have fully addressed regulatory concerns and received appropriate approvals,” Marcus said in his prepared remarks, which were released Monday.