Business

Erik Gibbs

Facebook hopes former Senator’s aide will save Libra

Facebook may not have had the success it expected the first time it tried to launch its Libra stablecoin, but it isn’t giving up. The controversial social media company is now hoping that bringing someone with ties to Capitol Hill on board will help its cause and has tapped a former senator’s aide to be part of its lobbying team.

Senator Mike Crapo has been a supporter of crypto advancement in the U.S. and, following him around as he tried to make progress was assistant Susan Stoner Zook. According to Politico, the aide is now part of the Libra lobbying team and is expected to use her connections in Washington to try to convince Republican senators to back Facebook’s coin.

According to her LinkedIn page, Zook served as the legislative assistant to Crapo for just over two years from 2011 to 2013. Since then, she has worked as the Senior Director of Government Affairs for Aetna and the VP and head of Federal Government Affairs for Fresenius Medical Care North America. She founded Mason Street Consulting in January this past year, which is billed as a “full service government affairs firm.”

Crapo, the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, has stated that digital technology innovations, including digital currencies, are “inevitable” and that they “could be beneficial” to the U.S. economy. He stated in a Senate hearing on crypto, “With the appropriate balance of regulation, digital currencies and their innovative underlying technology could provide meaningful benefit…”

Perhaps his enthusiasm for crypto has rubbed off on Zook as she prepares to get down to business. Libra was set to launch across the globe before it was lassoed by regulators and pulled back into the stable. Concerns over Facebook’s data breaches and lack of financial regulatory oversight have caused lawmakers to question the legitimacy of the coin, and whether or not Facebook is responsible enough to manage users’ money.

Senator Sherrod Brown has stated that Facebook has “proved over and over that [it] cannot be trusted.” While there may be a certain amount of veracity to the claims, many governments are also concerned about crypto’s impact on fiat systems, and could also be looking for ways to attack digital currency in an effort to stymie growth of the FinTech space. With Facebook and, now, Walmart looking to get into digital currencies, it is becoming more obvious that their efforts are not going to have the results they anticipate.

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