“Something feels very un-American about this”
After U.S. Senators Brian Schatz and Sherrod Brown apparently pressured the payment giants to leave Libra, Brian Armstrong, co-founder and CEO of major U.S. crypto exchange Coinbase, called the action “un-American” in a tweet on Oct. 13.
“Something feels very un-american about this. Two senators writing to Visa, Mastercard, and Stripe to ask them to withdraw from Libra.”
Senators’ letter pushes payment giants to leave Libra
On Oct. 8, senators Schatz and Brown sent public letters to Stripe CEO Patrick Collinson, Mastercard CEO Ajaypal Banga and Visa CEO Alfred Kelly regarding their participation in Facebook-led stablecoin project Libra.
In three separate letters, the senators have threatened the payment giants to enforce more regulatory scrutiny not only on Libra-related payment activities, but all their payment activities. The senators wrote:
“Facebook is attempting to accomplish that objective by shifting the risks and need to design new compliance regimes on to regulated members of the Libra Association like your companies. If you take this on, you can expect a high level of scrutiny from regulators not only on Libra-related payment activities, but on all payment activities.”
Senators cite child sexual abuse content reports on Facebook
In the letters, the senators have cited reports on Facebook’s alleged involvement in facilitating the distribution of child sexual abuse content as a reason to not trust the social media giant to lead an initiative like Libra.
The senators claimed that 12 million out of the 18.4 million reports of child sexual abuse photos and videos over the world in 2018 were attributed to Facebook Messenger.
The letter reads:
“It is chilling to think what could happen if Facebook combines encrypted messaging with embedded anonymous global payments via Libra. Your companies should be extremely cautious about moving ahead with a project that will foreseeably fuel the growth in global criminal activity.”
Following the letters from the senators, Visa, eBay, Stripe and Mastercard announced that they are leaving Facebook’s Libra Association and its stablecoin project on Oct. 11. Another important payment processor, PayPal, officially withdrew from the association on Oct. 3.