House Democrats issue letter to Facebook to halt Libra project

A committee hearing to discuss Libra is set for 17 July.

Five Democrats, led by Congresswoman and chair of the House Financial Services Committee Maxine Walters, have issued a letter to Facebook requesting that it pause the development of its Libra cryptocurrency project.

The letter argued that regulators need to examine the privacy, trading, national security, and monetary policy concerns of Libra products as they "may lend themselves to an entirely new global financial system that is based out of Switzerland and intended to rival US monetary policy and the dollar". 

It also argued that Facebook has not provided much information about its plans surrounding the project. 

"If products and services like these are left improperly regulated and without sufficient oversight, they could pose systemic risks that endanger US and global financial stability," the letter said. 

"These vulnerabilities could be exploited and obscured by bad actors, as other cryptocurrencies, exchanges, and wallets have been in the past. Indeed, regulators around the globe have already expressed similar concerns, illustrating the need for robust oversight."

See also: Everything you need to know about Facebook's Libra cryptocurrency (CNET)

The formal request comes on the heels of Walters releasing a statement last month that Facebook should pause its project.

"Given the company's troubled past, I am requesting that Facebook agree to a moratorium on any movement forward on developing a cryptocurrency until Congress and regulators have the opportunity to examine these issues and take action," Walters said at the time.

Walters is set to convene a committee hearing on 17 July, called Examining Facebook's Proposed Cryptocurrency and Its Impact on Consumers, Investors, and the American Financial System, to discuss Libra and the risks and benefits of cryptocurrency-based activities.

Facebook unveiled its plans for Libra on 18 June, with the Libra Association stating the cryptocurrency platform would be slated for a launch in 2020. 

Libra, Facebook's global cryptocurrency, can be used to purchase products, send money across borders, or make donations. The social network is working alongside 27 partners to launch Libra, which is expected to be released alongside a new digital wallet that works with Messenger and WhatsApp. 

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