Lawmakers have begun to actively press members of the Libra Association, the international blockchain payment project led by Facebook, to reconsider their involvement with the group.
In a new letter sent to the CEO & # 39; s of Visa, Mastercard and Stripe, Sens. Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) warn of huge risks inherent in the Libra project, including facilitating criminal and terrorist financing and destabilizing the global financial system. The letter also suggests that the companies would be faced with more supervision by financial regulators of their conventional, non-blockchain companies if they continue the association.
"Facebook seems to want the benefits of financial activities without the responsibility of being regulated as a financial service provider," the letters read. "If you take this into account, you can expect a high level of supervision from supervisors, not just on activities related to Scales, but on all payment activities."
Republicans are also skeptical about the project, with Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) describe it as Facebook & # 39; expanding their monopoly & # 39 ;.
As payment processors, all three companies face significant federal regulatory burdens, including the Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Protection Agency and the Department of Justice. Facebook is already confronted with a growing investigation by those agencies – in particular the FTC, which reached a settlement of $ 5 billion with the company earlier this year. None of the three payment processors responded immediately to a request for comment.
The letters only come from the Libra Association a few days after the withdrawal of PayPal. The company gave no specific reason, but many have speculated that it was a response to increased pressure from regulators.
"This journey to building a payment network for generations, such as the Libra project, is not an easy way," said Dante Disparte, Libra policy leader. "We acknowledge that change is difficult and that every organization that embarked on this journey must make its own assessment of the risks and benefits of the perseverance promised by the Libra."
So far, the other Libra members have remained committed to the project, which is still at an early stage. The first official meeting of the Libra Association will take place later this month.