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Facebook needs ‘very high standard’ for Libra coin: Mnuchin

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Facebook will need to meet “a very high standard” before it moves ahead with its planned digital currency Libra, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Monday.

Mnuchin said US regulators have already expressed concerns to Facebook about the plan for a global cryptocurrency, noting that these kinds of virtual coins have in the past been associated with money laundering and illicit activities.

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“Whether they’re banks or non-banks, they’re under the same regulatory environment,” Mnuchin told reporters at the White House, adding that Facebook “will have to have a very high standard before they have access to the financial system.”

Facebook last month unveiled its plans for Libra, widely regarded as a challenger to dominant global player bitcoin. Libra is expected to launch in the first half of 2020. It is designed to be backed by a basket of currency assets to avoid the wild swings of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Mnuchin said the US Treasury welcomes “responsible innovations” that can improve the efficiency of the financial system but added: “Our overriding goal is to maintain the integrity of the financial system and protect it from abuse.”

He said US regulators have met with Facebook officials on this question, and how Facebook can protect against the new virtual coin being used for criminal activity.

Commenting on Facebook’s claim that Libra could lower costs and help people without access to traditional financial services, Mnuchin said, “That’s fine (but) they’ve got a lot of work to do to convince us they can get to that place.”

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Mnuchin’s comments echoed concerns voiced by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and regulators around the world, as well as by lawmakers set to open hearings this week on the plan by Facebook and its partners in the Libra project.

– Hearing set Tuesday –

AFP / NICHOLAS KAMM US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Facebook will need to show its new digital currency Libra won’t damage the US or global financial system

Facebook will need to meet “a very high standard” before it moves ahead with its planned digital currency Libra, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Monday.

ADVERTISEMENT

Mnuchin said US regulators have already expressed concerns to Facebook about the plan for a global cryptocurrency, noting that these kinds of virtual coins have in the past been associated with money laundering and illicit activities.

“Whether they’re banks or non-banks, they’re under the same regulatory environment,” Mnuchin told reporters at the White House, adding that Facebook “will have to have a very high standard before they have access to the financial system.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Facebook last month unveiled its plans for Libra, widely regarded as a challenger to dominant global player bitcoin. Libra is expected to launch in the first half of 2020. It is designed to be backed by a basket of currency assets to avoid the wild swings of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Mnuchin said the US Treasury welcomes “responsible innovations” that can improve the efficiency of the financial system but added: “Our overriding goal is to maintain the integrity of the financial system and protect it from abuse.”

He said US regulators have met with Facebook officials on this question, and how Facebook can protect against the new virtual coin being used for criminal activity.

ADVERTISEMENT

Commenting on Facebook’s claim that Libra could lower costs and help people without access to traditional financial services, Mnuchin said, “That’s fine (but) they’ve got a lot of work to do to convince us they can get to that place.”

Mnuchin’s comments echoed concerns voiced by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and regulators around the world, as well as by lawmakers set to open hearings this week on the plan by Facebook and its partners in the Libra project.

– Hearing set Tuesday –

AFP/File / Glenn CHAPMAN Facebook’s David Marcus, who heads the social network’s digital currency initiative, said he expects an extensive regulatory review of the Libra project

David Marcus, who heads Facebook’s digital wallet and blockchain efforts, said in testimony prepared for delivery Tuesday that he expects regulators to carry out an extensive review of the Libra project.

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“The time between now and launch is designed to be an open process and subject to regulatory oversight and review,” Marcus was to say in his remarks, which were released by the Senate Banking Committee.

“We know we need to take the time to get this right. And I want to be clear: Facebook will not offer the Libra digital currency until we have fully addressed regulatory concerns and received appropriate approvals.”

The companies behind Libra include payment giants Visa, MasterCard and PayPal, as well as ride-hailing apps Lyft and Uber.

Central bankers around the world have said they would carefully study the proposed currency and last week US President Donald Trump weighed in, saying, “I am not a fan of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, which are not money, and whose value is highly volatile and based on thin air.”

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Trump’s hearsay defense goes out the window as House Intel releases transcripts of two first-hand witnesses

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GOP’s impeachment ‘game plan’ fell apart after Trump’s Yovanovitch tweet and now they’re unsure how to defend him: Politico reporter

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On CNN Saturday, Politico's Melanie Zanona noted that President Donald Trump's decision to attack former Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch in a tweet while she was testifying to Congress not only risks another article of impeachment — it is also leaving his Republican allies unable to defend his behavior.

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‘Game over’ for Trump if Sondland confirms phone call revealed by David Holmes: ex-Watergate prosecutor

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Appearing on MSNBC on Saturday afternoon, two veterans of the Watergate hearings that led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon said the slow trickle of information coming out about Donald Trump's Ukraine dealings could lead to a sold case for his impeachment.

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