Like yesterday’s Senate Banking session (see Client Report VC9), today’s HFSC Libra hearing made it very, very clear that Democrats are vigorously opposed to Facebook’s venture and Republicans, while warier of suppressing innovation, nonetheless have far-reaching reservations about the new virtual-currency payment/financial construct.  Chairwoman Waters (D-CA) expanded on her previous call for a moratorium on the project, stating now that the panel will increase oversight and consider action on draft legislation barring all large tech-platform firms from financial activities involving digital currency.  Ranking Member McHenry (R-NC) countered that firms should not have to seek permission to innovate.  While numerous Republicans called Libra brilliant, they warned of fierce congressional resistance if Facebook denies payment services to individuals or companies based on social concerns.  Reps. Wagner (R-MO) and Sherman (D-CA) worried that Libra would undermine the U.S. dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency.

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