It has been announced by the House Financial Services Committee on October 9 (Wednesday) that Zuckerberg will testify on October 23 during a hearing, titled “An Examination of Facebook and Its Impact on the Financial Services and Housing Sectors.” He will be the only witness.
However, Wednesday’s press release noted that Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) have drafted the “Keep Big Tech Out of Finance Act.” Earlier, Waters had called for Facebook to halt the development of Libra until lawmakers’ concerns were addressed.
The Wednesday’s release said:
“The draft legislation prohibits large platform utilities, like Facebook, from becoming chartered, licensed or registered as a U.S. financial institution. The bill also prohibits large platform utilities from establishing, maintaining, or operating a digital asset that is intended to be widely used as medium of exchange, unit of account, store of value, or any other similar function as defined by the Federal Reserve.”
Likewise, this month’s hearing will be the third held by Congress: the House Financial Services Committee and the Senate Banking Committee both discussed Libra on July 2019. Thus, David Marcus, the Facebook blockchain lead testified on the potential benefits of the project at the time.
During those hearings, lawmakers were openly skeptical about Facebook’s efforts, pointing to its past track record with data privacy and other issues as concerns.
The regulatory backlash around Libra has also concerned Facebook’s launch partners. PayPal, which Marcus previously led, pulled out of the 28-member governing association last week. Similarly, Visa and Mastercard are also reportedly concerned about the possible impact of continuing with the project.
Senators Brian Schatz and Sherrod Brown, both the members of the Banking Committee, went far to warn the CEOs of Visa, Mastercard and Stripe on October 8 (Tuesday), writing that participating in Libra Association could open them up to further regulatory scrutiny.