Skip to Content
Blockchain

Zuckerberg: Don’t worry, we expected policymakers to resist Libra

October 1, 2019
Mark Zuckerberg walking in the hall of the Russell Building on Capitol Hill, Washington, DC.
Mark Zuckerberg walking in the hall of the Russell Building on Capitol Hill, Washington, DC.
Mark Zuckerberg walking in the hall of the Russell Building on Capitol Hill, Washington, DC.Associated Press

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told his employees not to worry about the backlash the company’s digital plans have received from policymakers because the real action is going on behind the scenes.

The news: In leaked comments from a July meeting with Facebook employees, published by The Verge, Zuckerberg assured them that despite public resistance from policymakers, Facebook was making progress by meeting with regulators privately.

Move slowly and try not to break things: Zuckerberg said Libra was just one of a number of projects that “touch very socially important aspects of society,” and that the company’s plan is to “have a more consultative approach” with regulators than it has in the past. Finance in particular is a “very heavily regulated space,” and “we kind of expected” the process to be “a long road,” he said. “There’s a lot of important issues that need to be dealt with in preventing money laundering, preventing financing of terrorists and people who with the different governments say you can’t do business with.”

The public/private divide: David Marcus, who heads the digital currency project, faced a grilling by skeptical lawmakers during two congressional hearings in July. But those hearings were overly dramatic, according to Zuckerberg. Facebook’s “private engagement” with regulators is often “more substantive and less dramatic,” he is heard saying in the leaked audio. “And those meetings aren’t being played for the camera, but that’s where a lot of the discussions and details get hashed out on things.”

He may be right. We already know that Facebook has a strong lobbying force in DC, which it recently bolstered with new hires who will focus on Libra. But he’s also right that it might be a long road. Given all the regulatory issues yet to be ironed out, don’t be surprised if Libra misses its 2020 launch target.

Keep up with the fast-moving and sometimes baffling world of cryptocurrencies and blockchains with our weekly newsletter Chain Letter. Subscribe here. It’s free!

Keep Reading

Most Popular

open sourcing language models concept
open sourcing language models concept

Meta has built a massive new language AI—and it’s giving it away for free

Facebook’s parent company is inviting researchers to pore over and pick apart the flaws in its version of GPT-3

transplant surgery
transplant surgery

The gene-edited pig heart given to a dying patient was infected with a pig virus

The first transplant of a genetically-modified pig heart into a human may have ended prematurely because of a well-known—and avoidable—risk.

Muhammad bin Salman funds anti-aging research
Muhammad bin Salman funds anti-aging research

Saudi Arabia plans to spend $1 billion a year discovering treatments to slow aging

The oil kingdom fears that its population is aging at an accelerated rate and hopes to test drugs to reverse the problem. First up might be the diabetes drug metformin.

Yann LeCun
Yann LeCun

Yann LeCun has a bold new vision for the future of AI

One of the godfathers of deep learning pulls together old ideas to sketch out a fresh path for AI, but raises as many questions as he answers.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.