Mark Zuckerberg to testify in US over Libra cryptocurrency

Margi Murphy
Mark Zuckerberg will testify on October 23 - AFP

Mark Zuckerberg will testify about Libra, the cryptocurrency he is building, this month after he was summoned by a committee of US politicians. 

Maxine Waters, the chair of the House Financial Services Committee, announced that the Facebook founder and chief executive would appear as the sole witness in a hearing titled “an examination of Facebook and its impact on the financial services and housing sectors on October 23.  

A Facebook spokesperson said: "Mark looks forward to testifying before [the committee] and responding to lawmakers' questions". 

Ms Waters, backed by other democrats in the committee, has already requested that Facebook immediately pause development of the digital currency and its digital wallet, Calibra. 

The committee has proposed a bill to keep “big tech” out of the financial system that same month, during a meeting to assess what impact the initiative might have on consumers, investors and the American banking system. David Marcus, the head of Facebook's cryptocurrency operations, gave evidence during the hearing. 

Facebook is continuing to pursue the launch of the currency, with members of the Libra Association due to meet next week in Geneva to formally sign up to the group. 

It hopes to launch next year but has been off to a rocky start, with regulators warning that they will be closely monitoring its movements. 

PayPal, one of its first members, announced last week that it was pulling out of the Association, which now has 27 members. 

Britain's banking watchdogs have made clear that they will be keep a close eye too, with The Bank of England warned on Wednesday that the currency will need to meet the highest standards and prove that it will not impact the UK’s financial system if it is to go ahead.

It will be scrutinised by the Bank’s Financial Policy Committee. Governor Mark Carney  flew to Menlo Park, California to discuss Libra with Mark Zuckerberg earlier this year.