Despite Meeting Swiss, US Lawmakers Remain Libra Skeptics

Maxine Waters Facebook Libra Switzerlan

U.S. House Financial Services Committee Chair Maxine Waters met with government officials in Switzerland about Libra, and said she remained concerned about the viability of the currency, according to a report by Reuters.

Waters released a statement on Sunday (August 25) saying that despite meeting with the regulatory body for the proposed cryptocurrency, the implications of a large tech company providing a digital currency for billions of people still troubled her. 

“While I appreciate the time that the Swiss government officials took to meet with us, my concerns remain with allowing a large tech company to create a privately controlled, alternative global currency,” Waters said.

Waters met with Swiss lawmakers, people from the office of Switzerland’s State Secretariat for International Financial Matters, the Federal Data Protection and Information Commissioner and the Financial Market Supervisory Authority.

Facebook, which announced the currency in June, wants to get regulators on board with Libra so that it can move forward. However, backlash globally has been pronounced as regulators and leaders alike express similar concerns about the digital coin.

Libra was announced with a potential release date of 2020, and Facebook said it would be issued and regulated by the Geneva, Switzerland-based “Libra Association.”

Waters said that the Swiss helped her understand the “status, complexity, and magnitude of Facebook’s plans.” In July, Facebook was at a congressional hearing where legislators called the company out over privacy concerns, saying it wasn’t ready to safeguard the financial system, much less individual data. 

Also, many of Libra’s early backers are troubled by the intense regulatory scrutiny Libra is facing. 

The Libra Association, a coalition of 28 members put together by Facebook to help bring the cryptocurrency to fruition, includes Visa, Mastercard, Uber, the subsidiary Calibra and Spotify, among others.

The members all made a non-binding promise to invest at least $10 million. Three anonymous members said they wanted to back out of the venture. 

Two early backers said that they wanted to figure out how to end their relationship with Facebook over the scrutiny. Another early backer said they didn’t want to support Libra publicly because they were worried about the regulatory attention it could bring to their own business. 

“I think it’s going to be difficult for partners who want to be seen as in compliance [with their own regulators] to be out there supporting [Libra]” one of the founding partners told the news organization.