Senate Banking panel sets hearing on Facebook's Libra

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WASHINGTON — The Senate Banking Committee has scheduled a hearing for next month to examine Facebook’s proposed cryptocurrency, just one day after the social network unveiled Project Libra in its latest foray into the financial system.

The hearing, “Examining Facebook’s Proposed Digital Currency and Data Privacy Considerations,” is to take place July 16 at 10:00 a.m. No witnesses have been announced.

Senate Banking Committee Chair Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, and Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, the ranking member of the committee, sent a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in May requesting more information on the company’s reported efforts to develop a cryptocurrency and what privacy and consumer protections were being considered as part of the project.

Facebook has not provided the senators with a response to the letter, according to Brown’s office.

In a statement, Brown on Tuesday called for financial watchdogs to closely examine Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency “to ensure users are protected."

“Facebook is already too big and too powerful, and it has used that power to exploit users’ data without protecting their privacy,” he said. “We cannot allow Facebook to run a risky new cryptocurrency out of a Swiss bank account without oversight.”

House Financial Services Chairwoman Maxine Waters, D-Calif., and Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., the ranking member of the committee, also called for hearings on Facebook’s cryptocurrency efforts on Tuesday.

"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," Waters said in a statement.

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