Oct 12, 2019

Ahead of Zuckerberg testimony, new setbacks for Libra

Mark Zuckerberg leaves a meeting with Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) on Sept. 19. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg plans to testify on Libra, Facebook's proposed global cryptocurrency, on Oct. 23. — in the wake of Visa, Mastercard, eBay, Stripe and PayPal pulling out of the project.

The big picture: Visa, Mastercard and Paypal were the largest payment companies in Facebook's "Founding Members" group, or organizations that said it would back the Switzerland-based foundation that plans to manage the Libra cryptocurrency.

What they're saying:

"I would caution against reading the fate of Libra into this update. Of course, it’s not great news in the short term, but in a way it’s liberating. Stay tuned for more very soon. Change of this magnitude is hard. You know you’re on to something when so much pressure builds up."
— David Marcus, the Facebook executive overseeing Libra, tweeted on Friday

What to watch: Zuckerberg's testimony comes after "lawmakers, central bankers and regulators" have "expressed deep concerns" about the project, the Wall Street Journal reports.

  • Rep. Maxine Waters, chair of the House Financial Services Committee that Zuckerberg will testify in front of, has described Libra as “a new Swiss-based financial system” that is "potentially is too big to fail and could require a taxpayer bailout," AP reports.

Go deeper: More companies drop out of Facebook-led cryptocurrency plan

Go deeper

Facebook pushes forward with Libra despite distrust

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Facebook is pushing forward with its Libra digital currency despite recent public departures by a quarter of the members of the currency's governing body.

The state of play: It expects to launch with more than 100 members, including some banks, which have been noticeably absent from the list of current partners, Libra co-creator David Marcus said Wednesday.

Go deeperArrowOct 16, 2019

Mark Zuckerberg assailed from all directions in Hill marathon

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

More than 50 members of Congress barraged Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg from all directions at a six-hour House Financial Services Committee hearing on Wednesday that ranged far afield from its ostensible topic — Facebook's cryptocurrency project, Libra.

Driving the news: Instead, Wednesday's hearing focused on Facebook's handling of discrimination and civil rights and its lack of diversity, its role in elections, free speech and content moderation, monopolistic behavior, anonymity, terrorism, child sexual abuse, and more.

Go deeperArrowOct 23, 2019

Zuckerberg will push cryptocurrency as remedy for inequality

Mark Zuckerberg. Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will tell the House Financial Services Committee Wednesday that Facebook's Libra cryptocurrency project will help bring millions of people who don't use banks into the financial system and help the U.S. overcome global challenges from China and other competitors, according to an advance copy of his testimony.

The big picture: Libra has faced skepticism and headwinds from lawmakers and regulators. Several financial services providers announced as launch partners, including Visa, Mastercard and Paypal, have since bailed on Facebook's effort to create a global digital currency.

Go deeperArrowOct 22, 2019