Mark Zuckerberg testifies to Maxine Waters Chairperson of the US House Committee on Libra. Zuckerberg read a prepared statement and was later questioned.
Libra will not launch without the approval of the US government, he said while addressing the U.S. House Financial Services committee headed by Maxine Waters.
From the statement
The Libra project is about promoting financial inclusion through a safe, low-cost, and efficient way of sending and receiving payments around the world. Research shows that access to financial services can help people lift themselves out of poverty, and it is especially important for women in developing economies. We believe this is a problem that can be solved, and we want to be part of that solution.
Libra is one potential approach, and we’re proud to have helped found a 21-member coalition of companies and social impact organizations that have now committed to moving forward with this idea. Establishing this broad-based coalition is a positive step, and I welcome the conversation that Libra has sparked. But by design, we don’t expect to be leading those efforts going forward. The Libra Association has been created, has a governance structure in place, and will be driving the project from now on.
At Facebook, we’re also exploring other ways of giving more people access to financial services, for example by lowering remittance costs through our existing platforms. We recognize that other organizations are working on this challenge too, and we support that.
We will continue talking to regulators about our efforts. We understand that whatever approach we take to promote financial inclusion must address regulatory concerns, including money laundering and terrorism financing, sanctions, and potential currency disruption and systemic risk.
I know that the Libra Association is mindful of those things as it proceeds, and at Facebook, we’re focused on those concerns as we explore what we can do as a company to address financial inclusion. We also understand the importance of being transparent about our efforts.
I recognize that some have expressed concerns about the Libra project and Facebook’s role in it. I want to talk briefly about how we are working to address the concerns we’ve heard.
First, we’ve heard that people are concerned that we are moving too fast. As we have said from the beginning, we’re committed to taking the time to get this right. We co-wrote a white paper to begin a dialogue with experts and the regulators and policymakers who oversee the stability and security of our financial systems. It was never intended to be the final word on the project. The goal was to signal the direction we want to go and to start a conversation about how to get there. That conversation is ongoing, and we will continue to advocate for responsible innovation in this space.
Second, some have suggested that we intend to circumvent regulators and regulations. We want to be clear: Facebook will not be a part of launching the Libra payments system anywhere in the world unless all US regulators approve it. And we support Libra delaying its launch until it has fully addressed US regulatory concerns.
We have met with regulators in 30 different jurisdictions. The Association has been focused on regulators and other stakeholders, but Association members—including Calibra, Facebook’s Libra-related subsidiary—are also talking with elected officials, including many here in Congress. This is how democratic oversight and scrutiny should work.
When it comes to Calibra, I know some people wonder whether we can be trusted to build payment services that protect consumers. We recognize our responsibility to provide people with all the protections they expect when they are sending and receiving payments online. We already do this across our services. For example, every day, people buy products through Instagram Shopping, which helps businesses of all sizes show customers things they might be interested in. People purchase goods from each other on Facebook Marketplace and send money to friends and family through Messenger.
The committee are yet to submit their report on the regulations necessary for Libra to go public. Mark Zuckerberg testifies to Maxine Waters Committee on Libra was done as a request by the Committee.