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Facebook Taps Banking Lobbyist In Crypto Push

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In Facebook’s reported latest move to roll out a digital currency next year, the social media company has recruited a banking lobbyist: Standard Chartered veteran executive Ed Bowles is said to become the social media network’s director of foreign policy based in London, The Telegraph reported.

The executive is reportedly expected to help the company bring its digital currency strategy into fruition. Bowles was part of the transatlantic trade and investment partnership group of the European Commission and Standard Chartered for more than 12 years. The outlet reported the executive is the company’s “most prominent hire” in Europe after the recruitment of former deputy prime minister Nick Clegg. It also noted that Facebook and Standard Chartered did not offer a comment on the hire.

Facebook is coming into a digital currency market that is volatile and in which bitcoin reached a one-year high in May, the report noted. Bitcoin’s price was $8,445.61 as of 11:40 a.m. eastern time on Friday (June 14), according to Coindesk.

The report comes as news surfaced early in May that Facebook had been meeting with online merchants and financial firms as it made plans to roll out its own digital currency-based payments system. The social media firm has been working on the effort, which has a  code-name of Project Libra, for more than one year. It is reportedly centered around the firm’s own digital coin that users could tap into to make eCommerce purchases and send to each other.

In April, it was reported that Facebook was looking to raise as much as $1 billion in investments for the effort. Citing sources familiar with the matter, The Wall Street Journal reported in May that the firm had met with dozens of potential investors to raise funds that would underpin the value of the token. This method would enable Facebook’s currency to hopefully avoid the price swings that other digital currencies such as bitcoin have faced in recent times.

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