Business

Derek Tonin

Facebook hires lobbying firm to save Libra

Washington D.C. is known for being a tricky town to get things done in. Partisan politics holds back real progress and the pesky bureaucracy slows down innovative ideas. Facebook is looking to apply the one solution that works on most problems for their Libra debacle: lobbyists.

Lobbying firm FS Vector LLC has registered as having a relationship with Facebook as their customer since August 5, 2019. This can be confirmed on ProPublica, a lobbying disclosure database website. They specifically listed their reason for lobbying for Facebook as “Issues related to blockchain policy,” with John Collins as their representative.

Collins previously worked at Coinbase between September 2014 and January 2016, but has been involved in Washington blockchain congressional inquiries dating back to 2013. If you needed a man to help grease the wheels of the capital on the topic of Libra, he’s the perfect guy for it.

Since its announcement in June, Libra has not come out to the warm reception Facebook was probably hoping for. It immediately faced opposition from key members of the U.S. congress. After a sloppy defense of what Libra was and why Facebook shouldn’t be the focus of the rollout, lawmakers really sank their teeth in and layed out all the reasons why the social media giant shouldn’t be trusted with consumer’s money.

All of that has Libra on the ropes. Facebook has admitted that they no longer know when Libra will launch, if at all, and several members of the Libra Association are considering leaving the partnership.

While public opinion also doesn’t seem to be on Libra’s side, getting a few key members of congress to suddenly “change their mind,” with the help of a savvy lobbyist, could make for a big change in momentum. Considering the billions Facebook has to gain from Libra should it ever happen, spending a few million on lobbying right now is a worthwhile expense.

But then, is there any hope this will change things in time to save Libra? Anyone who matters to its regulation in the U.S. has already taken a side and spoken, and without a change in Facebook’s bad behavior, the project seems doomed.

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