Federal Reserve taking a wait and see approach on Facebook Libra

Facebook’s Libra, introduced to much fanfare, but has already caused U.S. Congress representatives to demand answers and world countries to take pause. Joining the list of powerful people who are waiting to find out more is U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell.

Powell commented on Libra when asked by the audience at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York on June 25, Reuters reports. He did not come out quite so skeptical as others have, but he clearly wants to know more about it before he gives it a pass. “Libra’s a new thing; we are looking at it very carefully,” he said.

A major difference between Libra and other cryptocurrencies, making it a force that politicians and bureaucrats are antsy about, is the scale of a 2 billion person strong social network backing it. “Given the possible scale of it, I think that our expectations—from a consumer protection standpoint, from a regulatory standpoint—are going to be very, very high,” he explained.

It’s not entirely clear how Libra should be regulated, if at all. It would need to be better defined and the reality of its usage will need to come into full light before regulators can assess how it should be controlled. Despite the current lack of information, some countries have already decided they want nothing to do with it.

Powell is taking more of a wait and see approach. “Authority for overseeing Libra is going to be in a number of places, but I think that the big picture is we are going to be looking really carefully at it,” he said ever so cautiously.

If she gets her way, Democratic Congresswoman Maxine Waters is going to get some of those answers soon. She’s called on Facebook’s leaders to appear before Congress and testify about what their plan is, and how they intend to address many of the concerns the world already has about Facebook’s operation. She specifically cited the fake accounts that litter Facebook, Russian meddling and human trafficking as concerns.

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