Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before the House Financial Services Committee at the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill October 23, 2019 in Washington, DC.
Chip Somodevilla | Getty Images News | Getty Images
Zuckerberg took questions from the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday, three months after David Marcus, Facebook’s cryptocurrency chief, failed in his testimony to provide politicians assurance that the company would wait for a regulatory structure before launch its libra project.
The top Republican on the House Financial Services Committee did not see much advanced by Zuckerberg.
“Frankly, I’m not sure that we’ve learned anything new here,” said ranking member Patrick McHenry, R-N.C. , as the Facebook CEO wrapped up his testimony.
That opinion was shared by various members of this committee, who had called on Zuckerberg to testify about the business’s plans with libra. Last week, Facebook declared that the 21 founding members of the crypto job as the team met in Switzerland to sign onto the Libra Association charter, which will govern the libra cryptocurrency. In June, Facebook announced plans for libra to alter how money moves across the world and stated it would be conducted by a nonprofit association supported by a selection of businesses and organizations.
But Zuckerberg fought to meet House members, that are worried about regulation and the governance structure enclosing libra.
“We need to get together and we need to basically review what happened here today and make some decisions about how we go forward with the strategy,” Chairwoman Maxine Waters, D-Calif., told reporters after the hearing.
Facebook didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Investors were not bothered, as Facebook shares climbed more than 2% through Zuckerberg’s testimony.
Prior to the hearing, there were signs that Zuckerberg would hold back from making firm commitments about the job. Following the Libra Association’s unveiling last week, Marcus told colleagues that Zuckerberg would not have the ability to speak for the institution itself.
In his prepared testimony, Zuckerberg made commitments only for Facebook’s participation in the Libra Association and stated that if the group wanted to establish the money without U.S. regulators’ approval, Facebook “would be forced to leave” it. Zuckerberg noted at least three different times during the hearing he couldn’t speak for what he called the “independent” institution, which comprises Marcus as a board member.
“I’m not sure that we learned too much more new, except now that they’re calling the association an independent association,” stated Rep. Sylvia Garcia, D-Tex., in an interview after the hearing.
Garcia was among those lawmakers calling for Zuckerberg’s testimony on libra. Though she had been “disappointed” with his replies, Garcia said she believes Zuckerberg was the ideal man to call in since “Facebook is Mark Zuckerberg and Mark Zuckerberg is Libra.”
Garcia said she is skeptical of the notion that the entities are different.
“I don’t think it’s going to be that independent if Facebook has such control and it’s their platform,” she explained.
Through the hearing, committee members urged Facebook to pause its aims while lawmakers develop new rules for authorities, or to just move the Libra Association from Switzerland into the U.S.
Waters said she can not support the plan in any respect.
“I asked for a moratorium on libra. And what he committed to is they will not launch it until there is a regulatory oversight agency that is responsible for it,” Waters said following the hearing, adding that she is “not so sure” that is the exact same thing.
She stated she does not know what libra is attempting to accomplish and that it has not been “adequately explained.”
“To simply say that you’re organizing Libra because you’re concerned about the unbanked and it’s going to have payments systems does not answer the questions for me,” Waters said.