Today, Mark Zuckerberg attended the Congress hearing about Libra.
The Facebook CEO’s hearing, entitled “An Examination of Facebook and Its Impact on the Financial Services and Housing Sectors”, was held before the United States House Committee on Financial Services and consisted of a series of questions addressed to Zuckerberg by the MPs present.
There were many MPs taking the floor, starting with Committee President Maxine Waters, although not everyone actually asked questions.
Quite the contrary, many interventions turned out to be only political comments, with very few questions and in some cases none at all.
The CEO of Zuckerberg was also confronted with particularly serious accusations, such as the fact that Facebook has been guilty of discrimination against certain specific communities of people, such as Hispanics, or that it is involved in issues that have to do with child pornography.
To tell the truth, there was more talk about Facebook than Libra, with Zuckerberg who revealed very little about the stablecoin project. In fact, many of the questions about Libra concerned well-known aspects, and the CEO of Facebook frequently only gave answers that the experts, or whoever is following the case, already knew.
Among the most important things said by Zuckerberg there is the matter that, if the American institutions do not give their consent to Facebook for the creation of Libra, the company might not be able to block the development of the project, but only possibly withdraw from the Association, which is independent of Facebook, consists of 21 companies, and is based in Switzerland.
The founder of Facebook has also stated several times that, apart from the Libra project, other similar projects are being studied all over the world, starting with the digital currency of the Chinese central bank, adding that the US should not withdraw from this innovation.
On the contrary, he said that the fact that Libra will be covered for the most part by US dollars may help to continue to affirm the financial dominance of the United States over the global financial system.
He also recalled that there are as many as 40 million Americans in the US without a bank account, albeit with a smartphone, and that the Libra project will also serve to enable them to become part of the global financial system.
He also confirmed that Facebook does not want to become a bank and that Libra is not a currency but a payment system.
He recognises that the company does play a very important role in society and that this entails great responsibilities, but he has reiterated several times that Facebook does not have control over Libra.
Zuckerberg describes the current financial system as out of date, whilst Libra would be a modern and innovative infrastructure. In this regard, he argues that this could be a regulated alternative to decentralised cryptocurrencies and that innovation means doing new, different things and taking risks.
The aim is to make payments as easy as sending a text message with WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger, as is already possible in other countries with similar tools.
He also admitted that the 21 members of the Libra Association have not yet paid the membership fee of $10 million each and that Facebook is committed to participating in the fight against money laundering in collaboration with government authorities. However, he admitted that he has no power over the other members of the Association, suggesting that possible problems may not be limited to Facebook alone, or to the subsidiary Calibra.