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Facebook Defends Libra Cryptocurrency in Sometimes Hostile Senate Hearing

Ahead of the launch of its new global cryptocurrency, Facebook (FBGet Report) sent its crypto chief David Marcus to the Senate Tuesday to face questioning from the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.

The mixed reaction Marcus received among senators was mostly divided along party lines, with some of the toughest questioning coming from Democratic Senators still skeptical of the company in the wake of the Russian election hacking scandal that Democrats blame for their candidate’s loss in the 2016 presidential election.

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Senator Mark Warren (D-VA) stated that “Facebook has a history of buying or copying competing technologies,” before demanding that Marcus assure the panel that competing digital wallets wouldn’t be hindered on WhatsApp and Messenger, two of Facebook’s most popular products.

Marcus went back and forth with Warner before assuring Warner that users would be able to send and receive non-Libra digital currencies on Facebook’s networks. But Marcus would not commit to embedding those competing currencies on its platforms.

Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) baldly stated that “Facebook is dangerous,” saying that the company has continued to misuse customer data while continually referring to each instance as a “learning experience.”

Brown concluded his remarks by saying that “it takes a breathtaking amount of arrogance to look at that record” and believe that the next move for the company should be to create a digital currency.

Republican Senators were more forgiving for the most part, with Committee Chairman Mike Crapo (R-ID) applauding the company’s efforts to provide financial services for the under-banked.

“I want to make clear that we are only at the beginning of this journey,” Marcus said. “We expect the review of Libra to be one of the most extensive ever. Facebook will not offer the Libra currency until we have addressed the concerns and receive appropriate approvals.”

Marcus also stated the Calibra network will have the “highest standards” when it comes to privacy and that the social and financial data will be completely separated.

Users will have to provide an authentic government ID so sign up for Calibra and will not be able to register by simply using their existing Facebook profiles.

Marcus stressed Calibra’s independence from Facebook, stating that the company has taken the lead in developing the technology but that it would give up the lead once the digital currency is launched.

“We will not control Libra and will be one of over 100 participants that will govern over the currency,” Marcus said. ” We will have to gain people’s trust if we want people to use our network over the hundreds of competing companies.”

Facebook shares were up 0.18% to $204.27 on Tuesday early afternoon and are up more than 55% this year.

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Source: Facebook Defends Libra Cryptocurrency in Sometimes-Hostile Senate Hearing

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Facebook’s Libra Is Already Ahead Of Ethereum, Litecoin, And Ripple’s XRP–But Not Bitcoin

Image result for facebook libra

Bitcoin has been around for a little over a decade, while its biggest competitors ethereum, litecoin, and Ripple’s XRP have been knocking around for between seven and four years—but all save bitcoin are already being eclipsed by Facebook’s yet-to-launch libra cryptocurrency.

The bitcoin price has surged over recent months as interest surrounding social media giant Facebook’s planned libra project reached fever-pitch but has swung wildly as global regulators poured cold water on Facebook’s ambitions.

Now, a new survey has found there is “substantial” public interest in Facebook’s potential bitcoin rival, despite a lack of trust in the company, with people already more familiar with it than ethereum, litecoin and Ripple’s XRP.

bitcoin, bitcoin price, ethereum, ethereum price, Litecoin, Ripple, XRP, Facebook, Libra, image

Facebook founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg might have his work cut out to convince U.S. and global regulators of libra’s potential, but the general public might already be on board.

Bitcoin and Facebook’s libra were given an awareness boost by U.S. president Donald Trump last week when he tweeted his opposition to both technologies but he may have inadvertently introduced the idea of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies to a whole new audience.

New research, carried out by U.S. brokerage eToro, has found that while 58% of the U.S. adults have heard of bitcoin, the first and largest cryptocurrency, Facebook’s libra is already known by 16% of people—just a month after it was unveiled.

Ethereum, the second-largest cryptocurrency, has achieved only 12% recognition since it went live in July 2015 and it can be assumed that smaller cryptocurrencies litecoin and Ripple’s XRP are still less well known.

“We believe that crypto and the blockchain technology that underpins it will be essential to tomorrow’s economy,” said Guy Hirsch, U.S. managing director of eToro. “By introducing the concept to a new audience, libra could play a vital role in the evolution of decentralized and more democratized finance.”

bitcoin, bitcoin price, ethereum, ethereum price, litecoin, ripple, xrp, facebook, libra, chart

The bitcoin price has been climbing so far this year, largely due to interest in cryptocurrencies from Facebook and the world’s biggest tech companies.

Meanwhile, the survey suggests that people may not be willing to trust Facebook to correctly manage payments, perhaps due to its on-going data-sharing scandal.

A little over half (54%) of respondents, out of some 600, expressed doubts over Facebook’s management of their personal data but only 17% indicated they would be willing to trust Facebook with their money the same way they trust their banks.

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I am a journalist with significant experience covering technology, finance, economics, and business around the world.

Source: Facebook’s Libra Is Already Ahead Of Ethereum, Litecoin, And Ripple’s XRP–But Not Bitcoin

Bithumb lays off 50% of its staff Leading South Korean crypto exchange Bithumb has announced a sign

Bithumb lays off 50% of its staff Leading South Korean crypto exchange Bithumb has announced a significant number of layoffs. Around 50 percent of its staff members will be part of what is referred to as “voluntary retirement”, as reported by CoinDesk Korea……

Source: Bithumb lays off 50% of its staff Leading South Korean crypto exchange Bithumb has announced a sign

Cryptopia In Crisis: Joe Lubin’s Ethereum Experiment Is A Mess. How Long Will He Prop It Up?

year ago, Joe Lubin seemed like one of the most prescient people on the planet. Cryptocurrencies like ether were in the midst of a hockey-stick ascent, and Lubin, a cofounder of the Ethereum blockchain and one of its most articulate pitchmen, was scheduled to speak at events from Davos to SXSW. At his firm’s “Ethereal Summits,” it was standing room only, with crowds hanging onto his every utterance, no matter how bizarre…………….

Source: Cryptopia In Crisis: Joe Lubin’s Ethereum Experiment Is A Mess. How Long Will He Prop It Up?

Firm that helps people buy luxury goods with crypto records $250M transactions

A company that offers the service of converting crypto to fiat in the form of luxury goods is reported to record a staggering amount of transactions. Elizabeth White, the founder and CEO of The White Company that offers the service admitted in an interview that her company records $250 million worth of transactions during the ongoing bear market. She said that the fear of “a crypto doom” has led many crypto owners, most of which are millionaires even billionaires to turn to her company’s one-of-a-kind services, as reported by BTC Wires…………..

Source: Firm that helps people buy luxury goods with crypto records $250M transactions

Japanese Regulators Grant Coincheck Cryptocurrency Exchange Full License | BTCMANAGER

According to a PDF document released on January 11, 2019, the Japanese Financial Services Agency (FSA) has fully licensed the Coincheck cryptocurrency exchange after the firm reportedly met all its standards. Coincheck, reportedly known as the most popular virtual currency exchange in Japan before its hack in January 2018, has registered with the Kanto Financial Bureau as a virtual currency exchange after its approval by the Japanese Financial Service Agency (FSA).Since falling victim to a deadly heist that saw $530 million worth of NEM (XEM) altcoins vanish from its coffers, plus the subsequent takeover by Monex Group, the platform has been slowly but steadily rebuilding its system………

Source: Japanese Regulators Grant Coincheck Cryptocurrency Exchange Full License | BTCMANAGER

Retail Giant Amazon Can Benefit From Ripple and XRP, Says Cory Johnson

Ripple’s chief market strategist Cory Johnson says retail giants like Amazon could benefit from Ripple’s suite of cross-border payment solutions. At Cornell’s Entrepreneurship Summit in New York City, Johnson talked about Ripple’s mission to dramatically improve the speed and lower the cost of cross-border payments. When asked where he sees Ripple in 10 years, Johnson said he can see the company’s technology playing a key role in helping some of the world’s biggest companies move money and pay their employees in a timely, efficient and low-cost manner.

Source: Retail Giant Amazon Can Benefit From Ripple and XRP, Says Cory Johnson | The Daily Hodl

Report: Indian Government Updates Progress on Cryptocurrency Regulation

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The Indian government has reportedly provided an update on its progress toward the country’s regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies. The government provided its latest stance in areas such as the national cryptocurrency and licensing of crypto businesses. It is pursuing crypto regulations “with due caution,” according to reports.

No Specific Timeline

The Indian Ministry of Finance has reportedly answered some questions regarding cryptocurrencies asked by Lok Sabha, the lower house of India’s bicameral parliament. A document circulating on social media details five questions as well as their answers by Shri Pon Radhakrishnan, Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance. According to the document, the questions were to be answered on Dec. 28.

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