‘However Long It Takes’: Zuckerberg Vows to Win Over Libra Regulators

Nikhilesh De
Jul 25, 2019 at 14:25 UTC
Updated Jul 25, 2019 at 18:24 UTC
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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says the company will spend “however long it takes” to get regulators and others on board before launching the Libra cryptocurrency project.

Speaking during a quarterly earnings call on Wednesday, the social media giant’s founder sought to assure investors that Facebook would act responsibly with its development of Libra, the ambitious crypto project revealed last month as a potential payments rail for unbanked individuals.

Facebook worked with “prospective members” of its governing council, the Libra Association, to publish its white paper last month in order to address questions about it, he said. “We’re committed to working with policymakers to get this right.”

The company initially said it aims to launch the currency in the first half of 2020, but the pushback from regulators and politicians has called that timeline into question.

In response to an analyst’s question about timing, Zuckerberg said Facebook’s approach to Libra is “to try and have a very open dialogue,” and that unlike a few years ago, when the company might have just launched a new product, today Facebook tries to detail what specific “ideas and … values we think an eventual service should have.”

“We’ve opened a period of, however long it takes to address regulators and different experts and constituents’ questions about this and then figure out what the best way to move forward is,” Zuckerberg said, adding:

“That’s certainly what we’re planning to do with Libra. So we worked with the 27 other members of the Association to publish the white paper to put the idea out there, expecting that this is a very important and heavily regulated area and that there were going to be a lot of questions. And we’re going to have to work through that.”

Staying on message

Zuckerberg’s comments echo statements made by David Marcus, Facebook’s blockchain lead.

Marcus, who used to sit on the board of crypto exchange and Libra Association member Coinbase, testified before Congress last week in back-t0-back hearings in an attempt to assure legislators that Facebook would not launch Libra until all regulatory questions have been answered.

However, Marcus stopped short of promising to halt development entirely.

“We are trying to provide a safe and stable and well-regulated product, so that’s always been the strategy and we’ll continue to engage here,” Zuckerberg concluded on Wednesday.

Mark Zuckerberg image via Frederic Legrand – COMEO / Shutterstock