Lawmaker threats on Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency harm consumer choice and will backfire
Washington, D.C. – Just hours after Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) announced its new Libra cryptocurrency project, federal lawmakers issued stark warnings to the social media platform, requesting the project be put on ice until lawmakers have had a chance to review it.
The lawmakers issuing warnings were Rep. Maxime Waters, chair of the House Financial Services Committee, as well as ranking member Rep. Patrick McHenry. Sens. Mark Warner and Sherrod Brown both stated independently that Congress “cannot allow” such a project.
In response, Consumer Choice Center Deputy Director Yael Ossowski says the lawmakers’ threats are harmful to consumer choice, and will ultimately backfire.
“Overseeing regulation on Internet and financial firms is important, but the ‘regulate first, innovate later’ mentality that came in response to Libra should give every Internet user pause. If every new Internet innovation is now subject to kneejerk congressional approval, that sets a dangerous precedent for the future of consumer choice online,” said Ossowski.
“Consumers have the right to choose if they want to use cryptocurrencies or social networks, and are aware of the great risks and benefits that go along with that. People want an alternative and they’re interested in new digital tools online. That’s why there is so much interest.
“Allowing political figures to freeze future innovations and projects because of temporary partisan politics will keep millions of consumers from being able to enjoy regular goods and services they enjoy online, not to mention being able to connect with thousands of their friends and family online.
“And it won’t stop here. If these threats continue, Bitcoin and dozens of other cryptocurrencies, as well as other social media platforms that millions of users have adopted, will also face well-intended but flawed regulation.
“We must have smart regulation that encourages competition, protects privacy, and ensures consumer choice. Prior restraint of innovation would be the opposite of that,” said Ossowski.
The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.
The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org.