October 23rd marked yet another tough and grueling day for Facebook’s cryptocurrency endeavor, project Libra as Mark Zuckerberg failed to appease lawmakers during the latest hearing.
Yesterday, legislators came together to hear the statements of the Facebook CEO regarding the platform’s proposed stablecoin. Zuckerberg was under the spotlight for six grilling hours as House members from both sides of the aisle posed several questions covering a variety of topics that concerned them regarding both Facebook and Libra including Facebook’s data policies and reaction to possible foreign influences on the platform.
During the hearing, Zuckerberg pointed out that the financial industry has reached stagnation point which is why there is a need for a project such a Libra. He said:
The financial industry is stagnant. There is no digital financial architecture to support the innovation that we need. I don’t know if Libra is going to work, but I believe in trying new things.
The cross-questioning went for a few hours as representatives took their turns and jabbed Zuckerberg and his old projects, criticizing him for making hollow promises and lying to the general public as well as the regulators. Despite the clear displeasure and skepticism, he addressed the concerns and reservations reassuring them that Facebook will not launch Libra anywhere in the world without having satisfied U.S. regulators.
The only trouble is, the U.S. regulators are not entirely convinced at this claim nor were they satisfied with the long marathon hearing. Reportedly, Zuckerberg failed to garner the slightest of confidence from the politicians at the testimonial. The top Republican on the House Financial Services Committee shared his dissatisfaction saying:
Frankly, I’m not sure that we’ve learned anything new here.
And several members of the committee shared the same view, as they were all rather disappointed with the answers provided by Zuckerberg. Rep. Sylvia Garcia, D-Tex, in an interview following the hearing, shared:
I’m not sure that we learned too much more new, except now that they’re calling the [Libra] association an independent association.
Throughout the hearing, the committee members were persistent in urging Facebook to press pause on its crypto-related plans at least until lawmakers come up with new rules for regulators, or to when the Libra Association is moved from Switzerland to the U.S. Maxine Waters, the committee’s chair, said:
To simply say that you’re organizing Libra because you’re concerned about the unbanked and it’s going to have payments systems does not answer the questions for me.
The outcome of the hearing definitely puts a question mark on the launch date of Libra which might become clear in the next couple of months.