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Facebook’s Marcus Wants Banking Professional As Libra Chief

David Marcus, Facebook vice president of messaging products and a key developer of the social media firm’s Libra digital currency project, thinks someone with experience in government and central banking would be a great leader for the team that would oversee the currency, according to reports.

“We need someone who knows how economies tend to work, who understands how to operate in a very complex, decentralized governance type of environment,” Marcus said in an interview with The Information. “And we need someone who has the gravitas to be able to carry the message on behalf of all the members — the hundred members and more of the association when this thing goes live — rather than have each and every one of us have piecemeal conversations left and right with all of the different governments and regulators that this whole network will be subject to.”

Facebook recently announced the creation of its Libra cryptocurrency, saying it’s being built using blockchain tech. The company also said it was starting the Libra Association, which is a nonprofit meant to manage the currency, and Calibra, the digital wallet meant to house it.

In the interview, Marcus said it wasn’t true that Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase declined an invitation to join the Libra Association.

“I want to absolutely and strongly deny the fact that we’ve approached banks and banks have said no,” Marcus said. “We have had conversations with banks. We still have conversations with banks. And my expectation is that by the time this thing launches next year you will have banks that are going to be members of this.”

In other Libra-related news, it was recently reported that the European Union could potentially have a real-time payments system in place by 2020.

Instant payments have actually been available in the EU since 2017, but only around 50 percent of banks have used them, and then mostly for domestic payments. Now that Facebook has Libra, the threat of migration is much more real, and banks are responding. 

“The clock is ticking,” said Etienne Goosse, director general of the European Payments Council (EPC). Goosse said that it doesn’t matter how successful Libra is, banks need to act, and act fast. 

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