Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he agreed to testify on Capitol Hill so he could provide clarity about Libra, the company’s planned digital currency. But his appearance seemed to leave more questions than answers.
The roughly six-hour hearing saw Zuckerberg fumble questions from the House Financial Services Committee about how the external Libra Association will be funded, what kinds of regulations should apply to Libra, how Facebook plans to make money from Libra, and how policies like refunding fraudulent transactions will work.
“Frankly, I’m not sure we learned anything new here as policy makers,” the ranking Republican on the committee, Rep. Patrick McHenry, said in a closing statement.
What Zuckerberg did make clear is that Facebook won’t launch Libra without proper regulatory approval in the U.S., and that Facebook would withdraw from the Libra Association if the group eventually decided to move forward on its own without the approval of U.S. regulators. But Zuckerberg’s testimony didn’t shed any light on what specific laws Facebook thinks should govern Libra.
Throughout the hearing, Zuckerberg would occasionally defer questions to the “independent” Libra Association, which belies the current setup. The 21 companies in the association haven’t yet paid the minimum $10 million entry fee to help run the network, Zuckerberg confirmed. That means the Libra Association is still very much a Facebook operation for the foreseeable future.