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July 16, David Marcus, who heads up the Calibra cryptocurrency division of Facebook, testified before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs on Tuesday. The meeting took place against the backdrop of concerns among legislators and users of the platform regarding data privacy.
In addition, the new project saw a threat to most fiat currencies, including the US dollar. According to Coinspeaker, US senators behaved quite hostile, showing themselves to be people who did not want to learn and destroy their monopoly.
Senator Sherrod Brown began by stating that he was completely indifferent to technical problems, instead he asked Marcus if he trusted Libra enough to participate in this project:
“Do you really think that people should trust you hard-earned money?” I think this is nonsense. Are you ready to fully receive your salary in this new currency? ”
Marcus was quite eloquent, explaining that Libra “is not meant to replace bank accounts” and he will trust all of his assets in Libra. In addition, he reiterated the idea that Facebook is just one of the many companies involved in the Libra project.
“You know perfectly well that only Facebook as a social network company has access to 2 billion people,” retorted Brown.
This hearing was quite different from the one with Mark Zuckerberg. Then it was attended by young senators who knew what the Internet is, but here the age senators did not understand the difference between Facebook and Calibra. That is why they recalled Marcus Facebook failures in 2014, 2016 and 2018.
The most impatient was Senator Kennedy, who called Facebook a “country” and not a company. Senator Pat Tumi, a Republican from Pennsylvania, asked Marcus if Facebook is going to ask users for consent to monetize their financial data, as other companies do.
“Anyway, someone will get the data of these people. You mean no one in Calibra will try to monetize it? “
Marcus replied that such a scenario is basically impossible, no one at Calibra will have access to the data. They will be stored only on wallets.
There were also many questions about possible money laundering or even arms trafficking, whether Facebook will collect data on completed transactions, whether users will be able to pay with credit cards and other means.
Marcus replied that Facebook will not know how much money is on someone’s Calibra wallet or transaction data, but can determine how much was paid and for what during transactions via social networks.
According to the top manager, “it will be better” if many transactions switch to digital technologies, because using Facebook’s Calibra wallet, users will have to upload an identity card issued by the government.
Commenting on the concerns of Congress and leading financial institutions that they would lose their regulatory function, Marcus said:
“You must understand that if we do not lead in this space, others will do it. Libra is an alternative, thanks to which consumers can use the wallet.
If we stand still, in 15 years half of the world will work on the blockchain technology, and the second half of the world will be blocked. We don’t want that. ”
Senator Menendez asked whether the Libra Association is capable of blocking assets in identifying the activity of terrorist organizations. Marcus said that Calibra and other wallets that Libra users are stored in allow it, in addition, regulator bans can prevent them from converting Libra into fiat currency.
However, the Libra Association will not be able to stop transfers between wallets, especially if local authorities do not interfere in such matters.
Commenting on President Trump’s racist tweets, one senator stated that the task of social networks is to prevent such incidents. However, social networks must guarantee freedom of voice.
“I hope that we will get away from the nonsense that we heard from the president and his right-wing politicians. This battle is due to uncertainty, and the goal of Libra is that billions of people around the world can use this coin.
However, if we have doubts about Facebook’s work, how can we believe the Libra Association. When you talk about world currency, there is no certainty that you will have enough resources for adequate implementation. ”
Quite unexpected on this background was the statement of Senator Tumi:
“For me this wild situation, it turns out, now we have to prevent something that could be a very constructive innovation in financial services.
I think that in the blockchain and cryptocurrency technologies there is a huge potential … I believe that we should study this, consider the benefits, as well as the risks. ”
In the end, Marcus said:
“We must continue to work hard to regain the trust of users.”