TL;DR: US senators Brian Schatz and Sherrod Brown recently fired off warning letters to the CEOs of Stripe, Mastercard, Visa, coyly threatening the payments businesses should they remain involved as partners with the controversial project Facebook Coin Libra.
US Senators Issue Threatening Letters to CEOs Involved with Facebook Coin Libra
Ahead of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony before US lawmakers in just days, two senators sent letters to Stripe, Mastercard, and Visa, insisting, “If you take this on, you can expect a high level of scrutiny from regulators not only on Libra-related payment activities, but on all payment activities.”
As might be expected, not soon after each company, in turn, issued statements about formally dropping out of the project at least for now. Facebook Coin Libra co-creator David Marcus publicly acknowledged the moves away from the seemingly ill-fated subsidiary, “Special thanks to @Visa and @Mastercard for sticking it out until the 11th hour. The pressure has been intense (understatement), and I respect their decision to wait until there’s regulatory clarity for @Libra_ to proceed, vs. the invoked threats (by many) on their biz.”
It’s just the latest, albeit significant, wrinkle in the social media giant’s attempt to hone-in on the cryptocurrency phenomenon. Libra was unveiled mid-summer to mostly shocked enthusiasts who marveled at its ambition if not its naiveté. Libra included plans to formally launch next year. Just as soon as it became official after leaks and juicy rumors, the four months since have been nothing short of nightmarish for both the project and its backers. Literally every major world government has condemned Facebook Coin Libra in one form or another. This is one of the first bald, outright threats by government officials, striking at the heart of Libra’s financial coalition.
Still, it appears Facebook hasn’t given up. Again, Zuckerberg is scheduled to testify in front of US lawmakers on 23 October 2019, hoping to address Libra concerns specifically. Marcus stressed in the meantime, “I would caution against reading the fate of Libra into this update. Of course, it’s not great news in the short term, but in a way it’s liberating. Stay tuned for more very soon. Change of this magnitude is hard. You know you’re on to something when so much pressure builds up.”
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