Libra, Facebook’s cryptocurrency plan, is moving forward despite being “mocked” by regulators and losing key investors like Visa and Mastercard, The New York Times reported on Monday (Oct. 21).
Libra was “secretly incubated inside Facebook” since 2018, according to the report, which noted that Facebook Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg “has long been fascinated” by cryptocurrency such as bitcoin.
Regulatory filings show that Facebook has had about eight lobbyists assigned to Libra since the project was rolled out in June.
David Marcus, head of the Libra effort, last week spoke to global leaders — including the World Bank and the Group of 30 — defending the digital currency. He also met with Democratic and Republican representatives of the Financial Services House Committee.
Also last week, Zuckerberg met with Rep. Maxine Waters, who chairs the House Financial Services Committee and has been critical of Libra. Zuckerberg will meet with her and the committee again about Libra on Wednesday (Oct. 23).
Rep. Lance Gooden of Texas, a member of the House Financial Services Committee spoke out against the fact that the Libra Association is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
“There is an impression that perhaps Facebook wants a clean start somewhere else because they haven’t enjoyed criticism of their social media platform, but Democrats and Republicans agree that criticism of the social network is entirely justified,” Gooden said, according to the news outlet.
Politicians from both political parties — including President Trump and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin — have criticized Libra.
Marcus told the Times he had “no regrets” about Libra’s launch and has ignored criticism that Facebook should have attracted more lawmakers before its June announcement.
In the wake of last week’s meeting, Libra said there are more than 1,500 entities that have expressed interest in the project, and of that tally, 180 meet primary membership criteria.
The Libra thresholds, as the association details in its documentation, require that firms must have two of the following: A $1 billion market value, $500 million in customer balances, a reach of 20 million customers or recognition as a top industry leader. Each member is expected to invest $10 million.