Facebook’s Libra, the new blockchain and payment system from the social media company, is the big topic in the digital currency space right now, and reactions are coming in from all corners. U.S. Congress members have quickly spoken up about the topic, and the world of Bitcoin has plenty to say too.
CNN’s tech reporter Brian Fung reported that Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters was quick to weigh in on Facebook’s plans, and she doesn’t seem to be a fan. She called it “unchecked expansion” by the internet giant, and she went so far as to ask Facebook to stop work on the project and come in to testify.
In an written statement, Waters pointed to Facebook’s checkered history with social responsibility, allowing “malicious and fake accounts,” Russian intelligence meddling, and human trafficking. She also pointed to data leaks, a problem that could be disastrous if Libra gets the 1 billion plus users that it hopes for.
CoinDesk points out in their reporting that there is growing bipartisan support for Waters calls for more testimony and regulation on Facebook. She’s joined by Republican Rep. Patrick McHenry, who wrote:
“It is incumbent upon us as policymakers to understand Project Libra. We need to go beyond the rumors and speculations and provide a forum to assess this project and its potential unprecedented impact on the global financial system.”
Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown also poured cold water on Facebook’s plans, tweeting:
Facebook is already too big and too powerful, and it has used that power to exploit users’ data without protecting their privacy. We cannot allow Facebook to run a risky new cryptocurrency out of a Swiss bank account without oversight. https://t.co/IjZOFNai3r
— Sherrod Brown (@SenSherrodBrown) June 18, 2019
The Bitcoin world has seen the entry of Libra as a positive, either as a way of adding some legitimacy to the world of cryptocurrencies, or as a useful contrast to what’s already been built in the public blockchain sector. “Early bitcoin and crypto people are viewed as anarchists—many are anti government anti establishment with anti bank rhetoric—that’s why the big financial institutions have been wary of investing and supporting cryptocurrency,” said Bitcoin Association Founding President Jimmy Nguyen. “When you have a big list of institutional players come in, it does provide more legitimacy to this industry.”
GAP600, the cryptocurrency payment transaction enablement company and Bitcoin SV (BSV) supporter, posted a couple of tweets on the topic, noting that this is great news for BSV, who will benefit from the denationalization of money.
& this is why we think $BSV adoption outlook is very compelling https://t.co/f7Vx30u2kH
The building of multiple useful services & applications on BSV will drive usage/adoption eventually making the #money use case obvious. #uniqueadoptionroute #buildingecosystems
— GAP600 (@BGAP600) June 18, 2019
Others in the twitterverse keenly pointed out that Libra could just as easily be tracked in a database rather than a blockchain, and some pointed out that it isn’t really a cryptocurrency. The biggest mark against it though might be in it’s choice of a permissioned blockchain, blocking off development from aspiring projects. BSV King concluded:
FB Coin/Libra will provide an excellent onramp for BSV… it can be used to BitCoin's advantage. And BitCoin (BSV) has advantage over FB Coin in that it is an open and transparent network/protocol and commodity ledger that anyone can build on top of.
— BSV KING (@bitcoinkaiser) June 15, 2019
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