Zuckerberg expected to testify at hearing on cryptocurrency plan

Politico Technology 2 months ago

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is expected to testify this month before the House Financial Services Committee as the social networking giant tries to ease concerns from lawmakers and regulators about its embattled cryptocurrency project Libra, according to two people familiar with the matter.

The hearing, which is also expected to focus on Facebook's impact on financial services and housing, is scheduled for Oct. 23, according to a committee member's aide.

The committee, chaired by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), had been pressing for Zuckerberg to testify, though its initial talks with Facebook centered on Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg as a possible witness. David Marcus, who oversees the company's division tied to Libra, testified before the House and Senate earlier this year.

A number of Capitol Hill lawmakers have questioned whether Facebook could be a trusted player in the global currency market given its past data privacy lapses. Waters has said Facebook should put Libra on hold until policymakers' concerns are addressed. President Donald Trump, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell have also been critical of the effort.

For its part, Facebook has pledged not to launch Libra until it allays U.S. regulators' concerns.

Nevertheless, the escalating pressure may be too much for some of Libra's early backers. On Friday, the online payments company PayPal left the Libra Association, the collection of companies and organizations set to govern the cryptocurrency, without publicly providing a reason for its decision.

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