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Libra may never launch, Facebook has warned investors

July 30, 2019
David Marcus
David MarcusAP

The company has warned investors that the currency, which it wants to launch next year, may not ever get off the ground.

The news: In its quarterly report, Facebook reminded investors that the proposed currency, called Libra, is “based on new and unproven technology," adding that the legal environment surrounding digital currencies is “uncertain and evolving.” That could cause Libra to be delayed or even blocked, it said.

The backstory: Facebook revealed its ambitions for Libra a month and a half ago. Since then, it has faced skepticism and backlash from government bankers and politicians, who have criticized Facebook’s track record on privacy and warned that its plan to launch a private currency to billions of people could be risky.

Onward: During Facebook’s quarterly earnings call CEO Mark Zuckerberg struck an optimistic tone, affirming that the company will spend “however long it takes” to earn regulators’ approval before launching.

And a company spokesperson implied that the regulatory uncertainty around Libra and intense scrutiny of the project is part of the plan, telling CNBC: “Engaging with regulators, policymakers, and experts is critical to Libra’s success. This is the whole reason that Facebook, along with other members of the Libra Association, shared our plans early.”

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