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World policymakers voice concern over Facebook cryptocurrency

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on July 18, 2019 - Duration: 02:09s

World policymakers voice concern over Facebook cryptocurrency

G7 finance ministers and the U.S. House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday all added to the chorus of concerned voices about Facebook's new cryptocurrency.

Jane Lanhee Lee reports

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World policymakers voice concern over Facebook cryptocurrency

(SOUNDBITE) (ENGLISH) BRAD SHERMAN CONGRESSMAN (D) CALIFORNIA, SAYING: "Now we're told by some that innovation is always good.

The most innovative thing that happened this century is when Osama bin Laden came up with the innovative idea of flying two airplanes into towers.

That's the most consequential innovation although this may do more to endanger America than even that." Lawmakers painted a dramatic picture Wednesday of what they see as a dangerous threat posed by Libra – Facebook’s new cryptocurrency.

And members of the House Financial Services Committee were angry that CEO Mark Zuckerberg wasn't there to defend it.

(SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) BRAD SHERMAN CONGRESSMAN (D) CALIFORNIA, SAYING: "People call this the Libra.

It's not the Libra.

When it finally if it finally happens.

Nobody's going to call a Libra.

They're gonna call it a Zuck Buck.

This is Zuckerberg's baby." Since Facebook unveiled its new currency last month, regulators and lawmakers from around the world have sounded alarm bells.

On Wednesday, finance ministers at the G7 meeting in Chantilly France added to the chorus.

(SOUNDBITE) (ITALIAN) ITALIAN FINANCE MINISTER, GIOVANNI TRIA, SAYING: "A point of interest for everyone was Libra, this new type of currency.

There's widespread concern." (SOUNDBITE) (GERMAN) GERMAN FINANCE MINISTER, OLAF SCHOLZ, SAYING: "We intend to examine carefully whether all current regulations are being adhered to and whether regulations will need to be changed in the future to ensure the stability of the international finance system." Facebook says Libra can help lower the cost of transferring money across borders.

That only added to concerns in Chantilly.

(SOUNDBITE) (ENGLISH) FRENCH FINANCE MINISTER, BRUNO LE MAIRE, SAYING: "We have spent many years before addressing that issue and being able to fix that issue of money laundering and the funding of terrorism.

How could we accept to have now a new currency which would not stick to the same kind of obligations?" Back in Washington, David Marcus - the executive Facebook sent to defend Libra - vowed to only launch it with the necessary approval.

But the social network's track record of protecting users' data proved to be a major hurdle.

(SOUNDBITE) (ENGLISH) MAXINE WATERS, CONGRESSWOMAN (D) CALIFORNIA, SAYING: "At every opportunity to demonstrate growth competence and responsibility Facebook has let us down."

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