Oct 22, 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.

What he's saying:

There are more than a billion people around the world who don’t have access to a bank account, but could through mobile phones if the right system existed. This includes 14 million people here in the U.S. Being shut out of the financial system has real consequences for people’s lives—and it’s often the most disadvantaged people who pay the highest price.… T he problem of financial under-inclusion is solvable, and I believe that we can play a role in helping to find the solution.
While we debate these issues, the rest of the world isn’t waiting. China is moving quickly to launch similar ideas in the coming months. Libra will be backed mostly by dollars and I believe it will extend America’s financial leadership as well as our democratic values and oversight around the world. If America doesn’t innovate, our financial leadership is not guaranteed.
— Mark Zuckerberg

Go deeper

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

As Zuckerberg hearing opens, Maxine Waters lays into Facebook

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The agenda for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's return to Capitol Hill Wednesday before the House Financial Services Committee is largely devoted to Facebook's cryptocurrency project, Libra.

Yes, but: Rep. Maxine Waters, the committee's chair, lit into Facebook in her opening statement, making clear that the hearing would be about all the other charges lawmakers have leveled against the social network, too — including monopolistic behavior, discrimination, privacy violations, breaches in election security, and whether the government should break up Facebook.

Go deeperArrowOct 23, 2019

Facebook debuts payment system, taking on Venmo

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Facebook on Tuesday announced Facebook Pay, an online payment system that will allow users across its services to send payments to one another. The new product, separate from its Libra cryptocurrency effort, puts the social network giant in competition with Venmo and others.

Why it matters: Once again, Facebook will be asking users to hand over more sensitive information when it is under fire for how it manages the information and access it already has.

Go deeperArrowNov 12, 2019