Lawmakers concerned about Facebook launching a new digital currency

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WASHINGTON (GrayDC) Social media giant Facebook wants to make it easier for you and people around the world to buy things online using cryptocurrencies.

Idaho's Republican Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID) expressed his concerns about Facebook helping to start a cryptocurrency. This comes after Crapo and other Senators spoke out on Facebook's plan during a Senate Banking Committee hearing in July. (Source: GrayDC)

A cash-less currency is on the rise. It is not cash or a credit card. It is a digital currency that lets you pay for things online without a middle-man like a bank.

“It allows for the easy transfer of value between friends and family but also between consumers and merchants,” said Kristin Smith, Director of the Blockchain Association.

Facebook is now plugging into the cryptocurrency craze. They’re teaming up with companies like Mastercard and Uber to develop their own cryptocurrency. Once the system is in place, anyone can make a transaction on a smartphone.

“There are 1.7 billion people around the world that don’t have access to a bank account,” said Smith.

Smith said people’s personal financial information will be more protected than a credit card.

“Not everything is located in one big server farm…that would be safer and much more difficult for hackers to get that information,” said Smith.

Facebook has already come under fire for not keeping users’ personal information safe. Now, Idaho Republican Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID) says he’s worried Facebook will have even more access to users’ financial data.

“I don’t think most people understand how extensive the collection of the private, personal data of theirs is occurring,” said Crapo.

Virginia Democratic Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) is also concerned.

“The last thing in the world we want to create is some scheme out there,” said Warner.

Facebook said they will work closely with regulators and lawmakers before they make the digital currency available to users. Facebook and other businesses plan to roll out the currency through an association called Libra sometime in 2020. ‘

The Libra Association’s Danta Disparte said in a statement to Gray DC, “The Libra Association maintains that financial inclusion, regulatory harmony, and consumer concerns are not competing objectives, but rather work in lockstep with the Association’s goals of offering a simple global currency and financial infrastructure that empowers billions of people. These hearings gave Facebook, one of our 28 founding members, the opportunity to continue critical discussions with U.S. legislators. By design, the lead up to the launch of Libra builds in time to work with regulators and policymakers around the world.”

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