Facebook's Libra cryptocurrency won't launch for another year--but its doubters are already amassing, from Facebook's own partners to the U.S. government.
On Tuesday, The New York Times reported that some of Facebook's 27 Libra partner companies--which include Uber, PayPal, Visa, and Mastercard--signed nonbinding agreements for the project. Those companies reportedly haven't spent any money on Libra yet, despite Facebook's announcement that its partners would contribute at least $10 million to the effort.
Executives at seven of those companies told the Times that they weren't "obliged to use or promote the digital token and could easily back out."
Their reticence foreshadows significant regulatory hurdles on the horizon. Almost immediately following Facebook's announcement of the cryptocurrency last week, U.S. House Committee on Financial Services chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) issued a statement requesting that Facebook halt its efforts until Congress and regulators could investigate. A U.S. Senate hearing on Libra is scheduled for July 16, and a similar U.S. House of Representatives hearing will take place on July 17.
International regulators have made similar overtures. On Tuesday, Financial Stability Board chair Randal Quarles warned that using cryptocurrencies for retail purposes should warrant "close scrutiny by authorities." His statement appeared in a letter sent to government officials attending this year's Group of 20 summit on June 28 and 29 in Osaka, Japan.
"We know this will take time and it won't be easy," Facebook spokeswoman Elka Looks told the Times. "But together we will be able to make the Libra mission a reality."