Fri, Jul 12, 2019 - Page 10 News List

Facebook’s planned cryptocurrency faces examination

AFP, WASHINGTON

The US Federal Reserve has created a “working group” that is coordinating with US government agencies and other central banks to consider the implications of Facebook Inc’s planned virtual currency Libra, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said on Wednesday.

At a hearing at the US House Financial Services Committee, Powell told lawmakers that the cryptocurrency plan raises “serious” questions.

“Let me start by saying that we do support responsible innovation in the financial services industry, as long as the associated risks are appropriately identified and managed,” he told the panel.

“While the project’s sponsors hold out the possibility of public benefits, Libra raises serious concerns regarding privacy,” Powell said.

Powell said that the Fed was “coordinating with our colleagues in the government in the United States” and “with central banks and governments around the world.”

He said that the review “should be a patient and careful one and not a sprint to implementation.”

Last month Powell indicated that the Fed would carefully study the Facebook plan to create a global virtual currency, which aims to lower transaction costs and bring more services to people without access to the traditional banking system.

The Libra coin plan, backed by financial and nonprofit partners, represents an ambitious new initiative for the world’s biggest social network with the potential to bring cryptocurrencies out of the shadows and into the mainstream.

However, the plan has already prompted calls in Europe for close regulatory scrutiny and several US lawmakers have said they need more information from Facebook.

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