Speaking in an interview with Asia-based news outlet Nikkei on Sept. 26, Zuckerberg appeared to show a rare display of fear in the face of mounting regulatory scrutiny of Libra.
Facebook’s digital currency has come under fire from governments worldwide since its whitepaper appeared several months ago. High-profile regulatory hearings have so far failed to quash the negative reactions; governments fear Libra will undermine fiat currency systems.
Facebook is taking a much more careful approach to Libra than its previous projects, CEO Mark Zuckerberg has confirmed.
“Part of the approach and how we’ve changed is that now when we do things that are going to be very sensitive for society, we want to have a period where we can go out and talk about them and consult with people and get feedback and work through the issues before rolling them out,” Zuckerberg told the publication.
“And that’s a very different approach than what we might have taken five years ago. But I think it’s the right way for us to do this at the scale that we operate in.”
Coinbase calls criticism “odd and misguided”
Preemptively solving aspects of Libra critics find unappetizing strikes a notable contrast to fiat alternatives such as Bitcoin (BTC), the founder of which, Satoshi Nakamoto, simply released the code and let the network grow organically.
Cryptocurrency sources have also cast scorn on authorities keen to stifle any innovation Facebook is attempting to introduce.
“Libra is one of several important crypto projects on the horizon with the potential to improve the world. Whether it works or not still remains to be seen, but I find the backlash to it a bit odd and misguided,” Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong tweeted on Wednesday.
Libra could appear by the end of 2020. When pressed by Nikkei, however, Zuckerberg stopped short of committing to a timeframe.
Zuckerberg Continues Tour of DC With Unproductive Meeting With Senator
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is continuing to meet policymakers in Washington, D.C. to discuss “future internet regulations” – most recently with Senator Josh Hawley.
“A frank conversation”
On the afternoon of Sept. 19, Sen. Hawley wrote on Twitter:
“Just finished meeting with CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Had a frank conversation. Challenged him to do two things to show FB is serious about bias, privacy & competition.”
Hawley has asked Zuckerberg to consider selling WhatsApp and Instagram, and to submit to an independent, third-party audit on censorship.
According to Sen. Hawley, the executive had a clear and short answer to both requests: no.
Zuckerberg questioned by Democratic lawmakers
Earlier on Sept. 19, Cointelegraph reported that Zuckerberg had dinner with a handful of U.S. lawmakers, where he faced intense scrutiny over Libra.
Democratic Senator Mark R. Warner said Zuckerberg heard “consistent concerns about privacy, concerns around vile content and how it came to be dealt with.”