Facebook Libra cryptocurrency hearings with Congress Day 2: Watch here live

CNET | 7/17/2019 | Ian Sherr
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Facebook has been beset by scandals for years, struggling with concerns over privacy, election interference and corporate malfeasance. Now, lawmakers say it's hard to trust it with a new form of online money too.

That's what's come out of hearings being held on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC so far this week, intended to discuss the company's upcoming Libra cryptocurrency. Libra is a form of digital money that's being backed by a consortium of companies including MasterCard, Visa, PayPal, Uber, eBay and Vodafone. If successful, Facebook says Libra could allow people who don't have access to banks to still be able to store and manage their money, and it'll work more easily on the internet.

America - Innovation - Currency - Payments - Area

"If America doesn't lead innovation in the digital currency and payments area, others will," Marcus said before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs on Tuesday.

Facebook's on Capitol Hill discussing its Libra cryptocurrency this week.

Comment - Lawmakers - Cryptocurrency - Costs - Money

That comment appeared to resonate with some lawmakers, who said cryptocurrency could help lower the costs of sending money and open access to capital.

"I just think we should be exploring this and considering the benefits as well as the risks and take a prudent approach," said Sen. Patrick Toomey, a Pennsylvania Republican who sits on the Senate banking committee. "But to announce in advance that we have to strangle this baby ... in the crib, I think is wildly premature."

Regulators - Lawmakers

But many more regulators and lawmakers aren't convinced.

Sen. Sherrod Brown, an Ohio Democrat, compared the social network to a toddler playing with matches.

Facebook - House - Arson - Experience - Brown

"Facebook has burned down the house over and over and called every arson a learning experience," Brown said. Launching a cryptocurrency, he said,...
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