Coinbase CEO Calls Senators' Libra Opposition 'Un-American'

Coinbase Head Calls Senators Libra Letters “Un-American”

The CEO of San Francisco-based Coinbase, Brian Armstrong, had some strong words for U.S. senators he accused of intimidating other companies to drop out of the Libra project, Facebook’s proposed cryptocurrency.

The Express reported that Armstrong called the senators “un-American” for their tactics.

Libra has been in the news a lot lately over not only speculation from governments and regulators alike, but the fact that several high-profile companies have dropped out of the Libra Association in the last few weeks.

The association is meant to be a sort-of governing body for the currency, with each company previously pledging monetary support. However, PayPal, Visa, Mastercard and eBay, among others, have all dropped out.

Armstrong blamed the exodus on letters sent from senators that feature “intimidation tactics” telling the companies that they’d be subject to increased scrutiny if they support Libra.

“Something feels very un-American about this,” he said. “Two senators writing to Visa, Mastercard, and Stripe to ask them to withdraw from Libra. Doesn’t matter what you think of Libra. If it’s not a useful tool or innovation, people won’t use it. Why the need for the intimidation tactics? This would be called anti-competitive/monopolistic behavior if any private company did it.”

Armstrong was referring to a letter by Sens. Brian Schatz and Sherrod Brown sent to the CEOs of Visa, Mastercard and Stripe.

“We write to share our deep concerns about Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency project and the formation of the Libra Association,” one of the letters said. “We are concerned because key questions remain unanswered about the risks the project poses to consumers, regulated financial institutions, and the global financial system. Facebook appears to want the benefits of engaging in financial activities without the responsibility of being regulated as a financial services company.”

The letter went on to say that the companies would face higher scrutiny for their participation.

“Facebook is attempting to accomplish that objective by shifting the risks and need to design new compliance regimes on to regulated members of the Libra Association like your companies,” it said. “If you take this on, you can expect a high level of scrutiny from regulators not only on Libra-related payment activities, but on all payment activities.”

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is scheduled to testify before Congress on Oct. 23 about Libra and other topics.



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