In a recent power move, the social media giant Facebook has hired Susan Stoner Zook of Mason Street Consulting to lobby for its famous cryptocurrency, Libra, which was announced this June. Susan has previously served as an aide to Senator Michael Dean Crapo (R-Idaho), the Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee.
Just last week, Facebook was being drilled with questions from the same committee about its policies regarding anti-money laundering, data protection and privacy with the company’s blockchain lead David Marcus, facing the heat. With this hiring step, Facebook has now upped its ammunition to tackle the regulatory hurdles that are expected to be placed in Libra’s way by the lawmakers moving forward.
Facebook has already spent more than $7.5 million on Washington lobbying so far this year, reported Politico. Besides a pack of in-house lobbyists, Facebook has also hired external lobbyist firms such as Cypress Group, Sternhell Group and even a law firm Davis Polk to clear the way for Libra on ends other than technological.
Facebook announced its ambitious cryptocurrency project, Libra, in June while garnering a lot of attention from the global finance community. Since the social media company has more than 2.7 billion user base, the implications of its digital currency are expected to be huge.
The cryptocurrency world already has a plethora of illegal activities floating around due to the lack of regulatory clarity. Being a technological innovation, cryptocurrencies, especially privacy coins, have allowed for illegal markets to thrive as these internet-based currencies do not fall under a strict regulatory net.
Facebook’s Libra is expected to affect billions with its online currency network and if it goes in the wrong hands, things can turn very ugly very fast. Facebook has already seen many controversies and it surely wouldn’t want another on its plate especially in regards to fraudulent usage of its currency network.
In order to avoid any worst-case regulatory scenarios that might spring up in the future, Facebook has already shown its intent of full-compliance with the regulators. CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg recently stated:
We’ve opened a period of however long it takes to address regulators and different experts and constituents’ questions about this and then figure out what the best way to move forward is.
Although the initial timeline for Libra launch was expected to be around 2020, there is a lot of regulatory grey area that needs to be covered with Zuckerberg offering full compliance with lawmakers. Keeping this stance of Facebook in the hindsight, the timeframe for Libra’s launch might just also get pushed a little forward.
With lobbyists working on behalf of Facebook, especially now that Susan Zook is aboard, and full support being offered by Facebook for regulation, it seems that the social media giant’s decision-makers are very keen on making Libra a reality in the near future no matter what it takes.
The implications of Libra are expected to be huge for the broader crypto world. Libra’s aim is to target the unbanked people of the world for cheaper and better online transaction system. With Libra in the spotlight, the broader cryptocurrency world will also get highlighted in front of the world. The overflow of Libra is expected to affect the market caps of other cryptocurrencies, especially bitcoin.
Overall, Libra has fast-forwarded the entire crypto world into the future a few years by bringing in regulatory development in the cryptocurrency space. With lobbyists working to get Libra approved from the regulatory point of view, it remains to be soon how long it takes before lawmakers give a green light to this digital currency and shift their focus on bringing in regulatory clarity to the broader crypto world, specifically when it comes to the giant bitcoin.