Was Facebook’s Libra Planning to Make Money in Dirty Ways?

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I know that’s kind of a clickbait headline but it’s from a quote by Mastercard CEO Ajay Banga, who dropped out of Facebook’s Libra organization after “multiple red flags.” Emphasis mine:

One reason was Libra’s leaders wouldn’t commit to abiding by laws around knowing their clients, money laundering, and data management, he told the newspaper.

“Every time you talked to the main proponents of Libra, I said ‘Would you put that in writing?’ They wouldn’t.”

It was also unclear to Banga how Libra would generate revenue, stoking his fears that it would make money in unscrupulous ways. “When you don’t understand how money gets made, it gets made in ways you don’t like,”

Facebook profiting off of money laundering?

IMF Calls on Policymakers to Address Digital Currencies

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Economists at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are calling on policymakers around the world to address the “notable risks” of privately-issued digital currencies, otherwise known as stablecoins. Facebook’s Libra is one such example. Should central banks issue their own digital currencies?

The two economists suggest that stablecoins could undermine financial stability, and that stablecoin users risk losing their money: “Whether stablecoins are indeed stable is questionable.” It depends on the safety and availability of the underlying assets, and whether they are “protected from other creditors if the stablecoin provider goes bankrupt.”

One of the worries is that technology companies don’t have the same consumer protection rules as banks do. I look forward to seeing how this will play out. I certainly trust banks more than I do Facebook.

Federal Reserve Chairman Says Facebook Libra "Cannot go Forward"

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U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said on Wednesday that Facebook Libra “cannot go forward” until serious concerns are addressed.

“Libra raises many serious concerns regarding privacy, money laundering, consumer protection and financial stability,” Powell said during his semi-annual testimony on monetary policy before the U.S. House of Representatives Financial Services Committee.

“I don’t think the project can go forward” without addressing those concerns, he added later.

Being pessimistic, I wonder if they are genuinely concerned about things like privacy, or just don’t want the competition.