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Bitcoin Chaos Continues As Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg Reveals Libra Woes

Bitcoin and cryptocurrency markets went into meltdown this week, with the bitcoin price suddenly falling off a cliff.

The bitcoin price lost some 15% in a shock sell-off on Tuesday, dragging down the wider bitcoin and crypto market and catching traders, who had hoped the hotly-anticipated Bakkt crypto platform launch would give bitcoin a boost, off-guard.

Now, Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has revealed his libra cryptocurrency, which is largely credited with sparking bitcoin’s bull run earlier this year, may not launch in 2020, as previously expected.

“Obviously we want to move forward at some point soon [and] not have this take many years to roll out,” Zuckerberg told Nikkei Asian Review, a Japanese business newspaper. “But right now I’m really focused on making sure that we do this well.”

Facebook’s libra has run into opposition around the world as countries, including India, France and the U.S., warn it will undermine their national currencies, with U.S. president Donald Trump launching a blistering attack on libra, bitcoin, and crypto earlier this year.

Bitcoin traders and investors have closely-watched the development of Facebook’s libra, which has been adopted as something of a cryptocurrency regulatory bellwether and a tacit endorsement of bitcoin’s underlying blockchain technology.

“A lot of people have had questions and concerns, and we’re committed to making sure that we work through all of those before moving forward,” Zuckerberg added.

The bitcoin price lost further ground yesterday, dropping some 5% and dipping below the psychological $8,000 per bitcoin mark.

Bitcoin cash, an offshoot of bitcoin itself, led the cryptocurrency market lower, recording losses for the day of over 5% and taking its weekly decline to almost 30%.

The bitcoin sell-off comes after a muted launch of the New York Stock Exchange owner Intercontinental Exchange’s Bakkt crypto platform, which was unveiled last year boasting software giant Microsoft and coffee chain Starbucks among its partners.

Bakkt’s platform allows traders and institutional investors to swap so-called “physically” settled bitcoin futures contracts, meaning traders and investors are not able to sell more bitcoin than they actually have, but the total number traded came to just 72 by the end of its first day, compared to over 5,000 traded on the first day of CME’s cash-settled futures, launched at the peak of bitcoin-mania in December 2017.

“Bitcoin staged a brief recovery yesterday but is again below [$8,000], currently trading at $7,990,” Marcus Swanepoel, chief executive of bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchange Luno, said in a note to traders.

“Similar losses have been recorded by all the main altcoins. The loss of value is certainly as a result of the overall global market negativity, but the change in the structure of the market with the launch of the bitcoin futures on Bakkt is thought, by a number of traders, to have been a contributing factor.”

Facebook’s libra, considered by some to be a competitor to bitcoin, is being pitched as a global currency, with the social media giant aiming to bring as many countries on board as possible.

However, the primary target is developing countries where banking and access to finance is low.

Facebook and Zuckerberg, who launched the platform in 2004, are both still reeling from a string of data-sharing and privacy scandals that have plagued the company in recent years and led to questions around the power of some of Silicon Valley’s biggest internet companies.

“Part of the approach and how we’ve changed is that now when we do things that are going to be very sensitive for society, we want to have a period where we can go out and talk about them and consult with people and get feedback and work through the issues before rolling them out,” Zuckerberg said.

“And that’s a very different approach than what we might have taken five years ago. But I think it’s the right way for us to do this at the scale that we operate in.”

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I am a journalist with significant experience covering technology, finance, economics, and business around the world. As the founding editor of Verdict.co.uk I reported on how technology is changing business, political trends, and the latest culture and lifestyle. I have covered the rise of bitcoin and cryptocurrency since 2012 and have charted its emergence as a niche technology into the greatest threat to the established financial system the world has ever seen and the most important new technology since the internet itself. I have worked and written for CityAM, the Financial Times, and the New Statesman, amongst others. Follow me on Twitter @billybambrough or email me on billyATbillybambrough.com. Disclosure: I occasionally hold some small amount of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies

Source: Bitcoin Chaos Continues As Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg Reveals Libra Woes

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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.

Facebook is a holding in Jim Cramer’s Action Alerts PLUS Charitable Trust Portfolio. Want to be alerted before Cramer buys or sells FB? Learn more now.

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

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