'Not A Lot Of Love' For Libra As Facebook Pitches Digital Currency In Washington

'Not A Lot Of Love' For Libra As Facebook Pitches Digital Currency In Washington

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin publicly commented Monday on Facebook, Inc. FB's digital currency Libra and said it is "indeed a national security issue."

On Tuesday, Facebook's David Marcus testified before the Senate Banking Committee.

No Love From Washington

Facebook could be entering a hostile environment, as there is "not a lot of love" from lawmakers, CNBC's Ylan Mui reported.

Both Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Banking Committee are "skeptical" of Libra, according to CNBC. 

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) said at the hearing that Facebook should not have authority over a digital currency in light of its market power and failure to police its own platform, according to the Wall Street Journal

“Like a toddler who has gotten his hands on a book of matches, Facebook has burned down the house over and over, and called every arson a learning experience,” Brown said. 

Does Libra Pose A Risk?

Monsur Hussain, senior director for financial institutions at Fitch, told CNBC the cryptocurrency universe is known for facilitating drug shipments or weapons trafficking — but there is no indication Facebook is actively looking to circumvent any laws or regulations. 

It doesn't appear that Facebook is looking to create a fully anonymous currency, he said. 

Worst Launch Ever?

The long list of very public figures opposing Libra gives Facebook the title of overseeing the "world's worst product launch ever," Karen Petrou of Federal Financial Analytics told CNBC Monday.

President Donald Trump, Congresswoman Maxine Waters and the Bank of England, among many others, are unified in "sending a real message" to Facebook there is something wrong with Libra in its current form, she said. 

Many other countries, especially those where there are a significant number of people with no bank accounts, will likely view Libra with "a lot of caution," Petrou said. 

Facebook shares were up 0.23% at $204.39 at the time of publication Tuesday. 

Related Links:

Mnuchin: Treasury Concerned About Facebook's Libra Plans

Cramer: Libra Digital Currency Is Transformational For Facebook

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