As Facebook’s libra faces headwinds, China is racing to launch its own global cryptocurrency

The People’s Bank of China “has expedited its development of a Central Bank Digital Currency” after Libra’s announcement in June, the analysts said. China’s proposed digital currency would bear some similarities to Facebook’s libra, a senior central bank officer said this summer, according to a transcript of a speech that was published online. The People’s Bank of China announced earlier this year that it was working on a digital currency backed by the yuan, reportedly inspired by Facebook’s ann


The People’s Bank of China “has expedited its development of a Central Bank Digital Currency” after Libra’s announcement in June, the analysts said. China’s proposed digital currency would bear some similarities to Facebook’s libra, a senior central bank officer said this summer, according to a transcript of a speech that was published online. The People’s Bank of China announced earlier this year that it was working on a digital currency backed by the yuan, reportedly inspired by Facebook’s ann
As Facebook’s libra faces headwinds, China is racing to launch its own global cryptocurrency Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-10-15  Authors: kate rooney
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, racing, regulators, bank, digital, faces, cryptocurrency, libra, headwinds, week, launch, currency, china, global, facebooks


As Facebook's libra faces headwinds, China is racing to launch its own global cryptocurrency

A visual representation of a cryptocurrency coin on display in front of the logos for Facebook and Libra.

Fed chairman Jerome Powell said earlier this year that the U.S. is keeping an eye on sovereign-issued digital currencies but that it wasn’t something he was “actively considering.” In the meantime, other digital currencies could “dampen the domineering influence of the U.S. dollar on global trade,” Bank of England governor Mark Carney said during a speech in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, earlier this year.

Cryptocurrency would add to a long list of existing tensions between the global superpowers. The U.S. and China are locked in a stalemate on trade, and a battle for dominance in 5G, the mobile network promising faster data speeds. The U.S. Treasury Department has also labeled China as a currency manipulator — a complaint that could be exacerbated if a yuan-backed cryptocurrency takes off.

“If U.S. regulators ultimately dismiss Libra and decide not to draft regulation to encourage Crypto innovation in the U.S., China’s [Central Bank Digital Currency] may be strategically positioned to become the de facto global digital currency in emerging economies, largely through Alipay, WeChat, UnionPay and other messaging & payment apps,” RBC analysts Mark Mahaney and Zachary Schwartzman said in a research note Tuesday.

RBC Capital Markets analysts told clients this week that based on recent conversations and meetings in Beijing, China’s plans are moving quickly. The People’s Bank of China “has expedited its development of a Central Bank Digital Currency” after Libra’s announcement in June, the analysts said.

China’s proposed digital currency would bear some similarities to Facebook’s libra, a senior central bank officer said this summer, according to a transcript of a speech that was published online. He also said the digital coin could be used across major payment platforms, including China’s ubiquitous WeChat and Alipay.

“China has been incredibly strategic about how they think about cryptocurrency,” Brad Garlinghouse, CEO of Ripple, told CNBC in a phone interview. “They have been dependent on the U.S. dollar as the global reserve currency — to the extent that other currencies emerge, and they can help propagate those, they’re intrigued by that.”

The People’s Bank of China announced earlier this year that it was working on a digital currency backed by the yuan, reportedly inspired by Facebook’s announcement. Analysts and crypto industry leaders are highlighting geopolitical implications of China launching a digital currency first — especially if libra hits a brick wall with U.S. regulators.

Facebook’s cryptocurrency plans looked shaky this week after a handful of high-profile members bowed out of the project. But while libra slowly gets off the ground, China is looking to launch an alternative.

In June, Facebook announced that it would spearhead the launch of a cryptocurrency run by the nonprofit Switzerland-based Libra Association in 2020. Libra is a so-called “stable coin,” meaning its value is tied to that of an underlying fiat currency such as the dollar. For now, the Libra Association has said its cryptocurrency would be pegged to the yen, U.S. dollar and euro. It has not said whether the yuan would be included.

It started with roughly two dozen members. But last week Visa, PayPal, MasterCard and Stripe all dropped out, fueling concerns that the project may never see the light of day. The association met this week in Geneva, Switzerland, and the remaining group signed the association’s charter on Monday.

Katie Haun, general partner at Andreessen Horowitz and co-head of its $350 million cryptocurrency fund, was elected to the board of directors for the project. Despite the exodus of high-profile names this week, Haun said she and the firm “remain committed to Libra’s mission.”

The project received pushback this summer from senior congressional finance committee members, global regulators, former lawmakers and industry insiders who flagged risks and questioned Facebook’s ambitions.

Lisa Ellis, senior equity analyst at MoffettNathanson, said regulators may be sidetracked by Facebook’s involvement in libra and need to “keep their eye on the fact that we do need to innovate to create digital forms of currency.”

“If governments and regulators are concerned about their control over monetary systems and money flows, the best defense would be a good offense,” Ellis said. “It would behoove regulators in the U.S. and Europe over the long term to maintain their leadership given that the dollar, the euro and the yen are used as proxies for global reserve currencies.”

Ripple’s Garlinghouse, who has been critical of libra, pointed to U.S. dominance in the rise of the internet, too. That was in part because of a “constructive regulatory policy.” If cryptocurrency projects aren’t grown in the U.S., he said, there are potential “geopolitical implications.”

Garlinghouse is hardly alone in calls for clearer regulation. In a roundtable hosted on Capitol Hill last year, more than 50 cryptocurrency industry participants from Fidelity, Nasdaq, State Street and Andreessen Horowitz voiced concerns about lack of clear laws and potential for innovation to flee overseas as a result.

“While bashing Facebook is good politics, neglecting the traditional role of the United States in welcoming the growth of innovative technology is not,” the Blockchain Association, a Washington, D.C., lobbying group for cryptocurrency and blockchain, said in a blog post last month. “Congress should focus on nurturing open blockchain networks before the United States loses out in this global technology race.”

Andreessen’s Haun told CNBC recently that it would be a “dangerous thing, and frankly a dangerous precedent to start shutting down technology before it’s built.” Haun also said there are “national security implications” if the United States falls behind in this area, and pointed to China’s cryptocurrency as an example.

Others are more worried about the national security implications if libra does get off the ground. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in July that Facebook’s planned digital currency “could be misused by money launderers and terrorist financiers” and that it was a “national security issue.”

He told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” in an interview Monday that he met with libra representatives on multiple occasions and has been “very clear” that if they don’t meet anti-money-laundering standards “that we would take enforcement actions against them.”

“I think they realized that they’re not ready, they’re not up to par,” Mnuchin said. “I assume some of the partners got concerned and dropped out until they meet those standards.”


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-10-15  Authors: kate rooney
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, racing, regulators, bank, digital, faces, cryptocurrency, libra, headwinds, week, launch, currency, china, global, facebooks


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Facebook’s Libra consortium is meeting today after exodus of key backers

A visual representation of a cryptocurrency coin on display in front of the logos for Facebook and Libra. Facebook’s plan to introduce a cryptocurrency will face a key test Monday as the consortium of companies overseeing it gathers in Geneva. The now 22-member Libra Association is meeting in the Swiss city to review a charter that dictates the structure of the organization and to appoint a board of directors. Facebook deferred to the Libra Association when contacted by CNBC for comment. A spoke


A visual representation of a cryptocurrency coin on display in front of the logos for Facebook and Libra. Facebook’s plan to introduce a cryptocurrency will face a key test Monday as the consortium of companies overseeing it gathers in Geneva. The now 22-member Libra Association is meeting in the Swiss city to review a charter that dictates the structure of the organization and to appoint a board of directors. Facebook deferred to the Libra Association when contacted by CNBC for comment. A spoke
Facebook’s Libra consortium is meeting today after exodus of key backers Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-10-14  Authors: ryan browne
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, working, today, voting, association, backers, consortium, visa, cryptocurrency, libra, key, meeting, facebook, test, exodus, facebooks, visual


Facebook's Libra consortium is meeting today after exodus of key backers

A visual representation of a cryptocurrency coin on display in front of the logos for Facebook and Libra.

Facebook’s plan to introduce a cryptocurrency will face a key test Monday as the consortium of companies overseeing it gathers in Geneva.

The now 22-member Libra Association is meeting in the Swiss city to review a charter that dictates the structure of the organization and to appoint a board of directors.

It was originally made up of 28 so-called “founding members” which would have invested $10 million each into the libra cryptocurrency to gain membership and associated voting rights.

But the coalition has been faced with something of an exodus of late with six key backers — Mastercard, Visa, PayPal, eBay, Stripe and Mercado Pago — all abandoning the project amid mounting regulatory fears. Facebook could however find comfort in the fact that IBM has said it’s open to working with libra.

Facebook deferred to the Libra Association when contacted by CNBC for comment. A spokesperson for the Libra Association was not immediately available.


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-10-14  Authors: ryan browne
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, working, today, voting, association, backers, consortium, visa, cryptocurrency, libra, key, meeting, facebook, test, exodus, facebooks, visual


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Facebook’s libra cryptocurrency coalition is falling apart as eBay, Visa, Mastercard and Stripe jump ship

EBay, Stripe, Mastercard and Visa are all dropping out of Facebook’s libra cryptocurrency project, the companies announced Friday. A Stripe spokesperson said in a statement that the company “is supportive of projects that aim to make online commerce more accessible for people around the world.” Stripe will “remain open to working with the Libra Association at a later stage,” the spokesperson said. The Libra Association, the nonprofit in charge of managing the cryptocurrency, said Friday afternoo


EBay, Stripe, Mastercard and Visa are all dropping out of Facebook’s libra cryptocurrency project, the companies announced Friday. A Stripe spokesperson said in a statement that the company “is supportive of projects that aim to make online commerce more accessible for people around the world.” Stripe will “remain open to working with the Libra Association at a later stage,” the spokesperson said. The Libra Association, the nonprofit in charge of managing the cryptocurrency, said Friday afternoo
Facebook’s libra cryptocurrency coalition is falling apart as eBay, Visa, Mastercard and Stripe jump ship Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-10-11  Authors: lauren feiner
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, mastercard, stripe, project, ship, jump, visa, falling, ebay, facebooks, association, later, spokesperson, marcus, week, cryptocurrency, paypal, libra


Facebook's libra cryptocurrency coalition is falling apart as eBay, Visa, Mastercard and Stripe jump ship

EBay, Stripe, Mastercard and Visa are all dropping out of Facebook’s libra cryptocurrency project, the companies announced Friday. The news comes one week after PayPal announced its withdrawal as government regulators continue to scrutinize the plans.

In statements following the news, the companies said they respect and see potential in the project, but have chosen to focus on other efforts. A Stripe spokesperson said in a statement that the company “is supportive of projects that aim to make online commerce more accessible for people around the world.” Stripe will “remain open to working with the Libra Association at a later stage,” the spokesperson said.

A Visa spokesperson said the company “will continue to evaluate and our ultimate decision will be determined by a number of factors, including the Association’s ability to fully satisfy all requisite regulatory expectations. Visa’s continued interest in Libra stems from our belief that well-regulated blockchain-based networks could extend the value of secure digital payments to a greater number of people and places, particularly in emerging and developing markets.”

The original coalition of 28 corporate backers of the libra cryptocurrency seems to be dwindling as lawmakers continue to question how it will impact sovereign currencies and how the project’s leaders can ensure consumers’ protection. Mercadopago and PayU are now the only two payments companies continuing to back the cryptocurrency as of Friday afternoon. Original backers Uber and Lyft told CNBC there has been no change to their involvement in the project.

The backers abandoning the project may have found safety in numbers after PayPal announced its exit last week. News that eBay, Stripe and Mastercard were each dropping out quickly followed one another Friday afternoon, indicating all three had likely been thinking about leaving during the same period. The decisions come ahead of a planned Libra Association Council meeting on Oct. 14. A week later, libra’s cryptocurrency project will take center stage in front of U.S. lawmakers once again when Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies in front of the House Financial Services Committee later this month.

David Marcus, who leads the libra project and was previously the president of PayPal, weighed in on Twitter hours after the announcements. He cautioned “against reading the fate of Libra into this update.”

Marcus testified before the committee in July. At the time, representatives including Chairwoman Maxine Waters, D-Calif., had asked Marcus whether Facebook would postpone its plans until the necessary regulations were in place. Marcus did not give an affirmative answer, according to Waters’ judgement. She said his answer “was not a commitment.”

The Libra Association, the nonprofit in charge of managing the cryptocurrency, said Friday afternoon it is still looking to move forward.

In a statement, policy and communication head Dante Disparte said, “We are focused on moving forward and continuing to build a strong association of some of the world’s leading enterprises, social impact organizations and other stakeholders to achieve a safe, transparent, and consumer-friendly implementation of a global payment system that breaks down financial barriers for billions of people. We look forward to the inaugural Libra Association Council meeting in just 3 days and announcing the initial members of the Libra Association.”

Facebook declined to comment.

-CNBC’s Salvador Rodriguez and Deirdre Bosa contributed to this report.

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WATCH: FB’s Marcus: There will be no special privilege for Facebook with Libra


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-10-11  Authors: lauren feiner
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, mastercard, stripe, project, ship, jump, visa, falling, ebay, facebooks, association, later, spokesperson, marcus, week, cryptocurrency, paypal, libra


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The UN children’s charity now accepts donations in cryptocurrency

UNICEF, the U.N.’s charity for children, launched a cryptocurrency fund that will enable the organization to receive donations in bitcoin and ether. The non-profit will use the fund to store donations, before distributing funding in the same form of cryptocurrency. UNICEF’s first donation will come from the Ethereum Foundation, which works to promote the Ethereum blockchain platform. “The creation of our Cryptocurrency Fund is a significant and welcome step forward in humanitarian and developmen


UNICEF, the U.N.’s charity for children, launched a cryptocurrency fund that will enable the organization to receive donations in bitcoin and ether. The non-profit will use the fund to store donations, before distributing funding in the same form of cryptocurrency. UNICEF’s first donation will come from the Ethereum Foundation, which works to promote the Ethereum blockchain platform. “The creation of our Cryptocurrency Fund is a significant and welcome step forward in humanitarian and developmen
The UN children’s charity now accepts donations in cryptocurrency Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-10-09  Authors: chloe taylor
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, childrens, charity, fund, blockchain, potential, digital, cryptocurrency, ethereum, accepting, accepts, platform, organization, donations, unicef


The UN children's charity now accepts donations in cryptocurrency

UNICEF, the U.N.’s charity for children, launched a cryptocurrency fund that will enable the organization to receive donations in bitcoin and ether.

The non-profit will use the fund to store donations, before distributing funding in the same form of cryptocurrency.

UNICEF’s first donation will come from the Ethereum Foundation, which works to promote the Ethereum blockchain platform. The donation will be given to three grantees of UNICEF’s Innovation Fund, which connects schools around the world to the internet.

“If digital economies and currencies have the potential to shape the lives of coming generations, it is important that we explore the opportunities they offer,” UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore said in a press release on Wednesday. “The creation of our Cryptocurrency Fund is a significant and welcome step forward in humanitarian and development work.”

Aya Miyaguchi, executive director of the Ethereum Foundation, added that the fund was an opportunity to demonstrate the power of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.

“We aim to support the research and development of the Ethereum platform, and to grow the community of those that benefit from a technology that will better countless lives and industries in the years to come,” she said.

In 2015, UNICEF and other UN organizations established the UN Innovation Network, which researches the potential benefits and pitfalls of blockchain and other emerging technologies.

UNICEF’s announcement on Wednesday made it the latest charitable organization to accept digital currencies.

Since the United States’ Fidelity Charitable began accepting crypto donations in 2015, the organization said it’s raised more than $100 million in digital currencies including bitcoin.

Meanwhile, the U.K.’s Royal National Lifeboat Institution, which began accepting bitcoin donations online in 2014, claims to have been the first major British charity to start accepting cryptocurrency.

Cryptocurrencies, which are decentralized and therefore not regulated by central authorities like governments, have their critics and prices are notoriously volatile. In June, bitcoin’s value plunged $3,000 in less than 24 hours, while ether nosedived 45% over a 30 day period in recent months.

— CNBC’s Kate Rooney and Maggie Fitzgerald contributed to this article.


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-10-09  Authors: chloe taylor
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, childrens, charity, fund, blockchain, potential, digital, cryptocurrency, ethereum, accepting, accepts, platform, organization, donations, unicef


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Mark Zuckerberg to testify before Congress on Facebook’s libra cryptocurrency

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will testify before the House Financial Services Committee this month, the committee announced Wednesday. ET, entitled “An Examination of Facebook and Its Impact on the Financial Services and Housing Sectors.” House members had been pushing for Zuckerberg to testify on Facebook’s cryptocurrency plans as the committee had been in talks with his COO, Sheryl Sandberg, about testifying, CNBC reported last week. Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters, D-Calif., previously req


Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will testify before the House Financial Services Committee this month, the committee announced Wednesday. ET, entitled “An Examination of Facebook and Its Impact on the Financial Services and Housing Sectors.” House members had been pushing for Zuckerberg to testify on Facebook’s cryptocurrency plans as the committee had been in talks with his COO, Sheryl Sandberg, about testifying, CNBC reported last week. Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters, D-Calif., previously req
Mark Zuckerberg to testify before Congress on Facebook’s libra cryptocurrency Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-10-09  Authors: lauren feiner mary catherine wellons, lauren feiner, mary catherine wellons
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, facebook, lawmakers, zuckerberg, services, hearing, facebooks, financial, committee, congress, house, libra, testify, mark, cryptocurrency


Mark Zuckerberg to testify before Congress on Facebook's libra cryptocurrency

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will testify before the House Financial Services Committee this month, the committee announced Wednesday.

Zuckerberg will be the only witness at a hearing, which is scheduled for Oct. 23 at 10 a.m. ET, entitled “An Examination of Facebook and Its Impact on the Financial Services and Housing Sectors.” House members had been pushing for Zuckerberg to testify on Facebook’s cryptocurrency plans as the committee had been in talks with his COO, Sheryl Sandberg, about testifying, CNBC reported last week.

Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters, D-Calif., previously requested Facebook halt implementation of the libra cryptocurrency ahead of a July hearing with the project’s lead. Waters later seemed dissatisfied with the lack of commitment from David Marcus, Facebook’s crypto chief, to postponing the company’s plans.

Since then, a number of international authorities have expressed concern over libra and one of the project’s original backers, PayPal, has dropped out. Other corporate backers like Visa and Mastercard are also reconsidering their roles, The Wall Street Journal reported. On Tuesday, two members of the Senate Banking Committee sent letters to the CEOs of Visa, Mastercard and Stripe to urge them to “carefully consider how your company will manage” the risks of the libra project before proceeding.

The hearing will be a rare chance for lawmakers to grill the Facebook chief in public. Zuckerberg recently returned to D.C. for his first official visit since his 2018 testimonies over the Cambridge Analytica scandal. But Zuckerberg only talked with lawmakers behind closed doors on that trip.

Zuckerberg’s agreement to testify with lawmakers marks a shift. In a recording of a July staff meeting obtained by The Verge, Zuckerberg told employees he has refused to testify in front of some foreign governments because “it just doesn’t really make sense for me to go to hearings in every single country that wants to have me show up.”

Zuckerberg’s meetings with lawmakers focused on the future of internet regulation, which poses a threat to Facebook’s core business. His willingness to meet representatives on their turf showed, as he has previously expressed, that he accepts regulation is coming and wants to be part of the conversation.

The testimony could also play an important role in the multiple antitrust investigations Facebook is currently facing. The company is under review by investigators at the Federal Trade Commission, a coalition of state attorneys general and the House Judiciary Committee for its competitive practices.

“Mark looks forward to testifying before the House Financial Services Committee and responding to lawmakers’ questions,” a Facebook spokesperson said.

WATCH: FB’s Marcus: There will be no special privilege for Facebook with Libra


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-10-09  Authors: lauren feiner mary catherine wellons, lauren feiner, mary catherine wellons
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, facebook, lawmakers, zuckerberg, services, hearing, facebooks, financial, committee, congress, house, libra, testify, mark, cryptocurrency


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The EU is questioning Facebook about risks from libra cryptocurrency

The executive branch of the European Union has sent a questionnaire to Facebook and the Libra Association seeking clarification about their proposed digital currency called libra, an EU spokesperson confirmed to CNBC on Monday. Fresh questions posed by the European Commission “go beyond” previous antitrust concerns it raised with the Libra Association, the spokesperson said. The questionnaire has added another layer of scrutiny to the digital currency project that Facebook launched in June. Regu


The executive branch of the European Union has sent a questionnaire to Facebook and the Libra Association seeking clarification about their proposed digital currency called libra, an EU spokesperson confirmed to CNBC on Monday. Fresh questions posed by the European Commission “go beyond” previous antitrust concerns it raised with the Libra Association, the spokesperson said. The questionnaire has added another layer of scrutiny to the digital currency project that Facebook launched in June. Regu
The EU is questioning Facebook about risks from libra cryptocurrency Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-10-07  Authors: elizabeth schulze
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, questionnaire, european, facebook, world, currency, cryptocurrency, project, spokesperson, risks, digital, questioning, libra, association


The EU is questioning Facebook about risks from libra cryptocurrency

The executive branch of the European Union has sent a questionnaire to Facebook and the Libra Association seeking clarification about their proposed digital currency called libra, an EU spokesperson confirmed to CNBC on Monday.

Fresh questions posed by the European Commission “go beyond” previous antitrust concerns it raised with the Libra Association, the spokesperson said.

The questionnaire has added another layer of scrutiny to the digital currency project that Facebook launched in June. Regulators, policymakers and politicians around the world have piled on criticism of the project since it was unveiled.

Facebook and the Libra Association did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-10-07  Authors: elizabeth schulze
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, questionnaire, european, facebook, world, currency, cryptocurrency, project, spokesperson, risks, digital, questioning, libra, association


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Meet the former prosecutor asked to investigate bitcoin who became the face of crypto VC investing

Source: Andreessen HorowitzSeven years ago, bitcoin was a foreign language to federal prosecutor Katie Haun. Instead, her department prosecuted multiple cases where bitcoin was being used for extortion and white collar crime. In some cases, the technology behind bitcoin, known as blockchain, actually helped the department solve cases. When Kennedy asked where she wanted to be in ten years, Haun told him: “I want to be a prosecutor.” One of the agents stole about 20,000 bitcoin — worth about $160


Source: Andreessen HorowitzSeven years ago, bitcoin was a foreign language to federal prosecutor Katie Haun. Instead, her department prosecuted multiple cases where bitcoin was being used for extortion and white collar crime. In some cases, the technology behind bitcoin, known as blockchain, actually helped the department solve cases. When Kennedy asked where she wanted to be in ten years, Haun told him: “I want to be a prosecutor.” One of the agents stole about 20,000 bitcoin — worth about $160
Meet the former prosecutor asked to investigate bitcoin who became the face of crypto VC investing Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-10-06  Authors: kate rooney
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, criminal, meet, investing, crypto, haun, investigate, cryptocurrency, face, asked, cases, early, horowitz, prosecutor, used, bitcoin


Meet the former prosecutor asked to investigate bitcoin who became the face of crypto VC investing

Katie Haun, Andreessen Horowitz general partner. Source: Andreessen Horowitz

Seven years ago, bitcoin was a foreign language to federal prosecutor Katie Haun. That changed when her boss at the U.S. attorney’s office asked her to look into shutting it down. What’s now the most widely used cryptocurrency was a niche payment method being used in the depths of the internet, in many cases being used to buy illegal goods on black markets. But Haun quickly decided the currency itself wasn’t what needed probing. “It would have been akin to saying ‘let’s go prosecute cash,'” Haun said. Instead, her department prosecuted multiple cases where bitcoin was being used for extortion and white collar crime. In some cases, the technology behind bitcoin, known as blockchain, actually helped the department solve cases. Haun’s view on cryptocurrency has evolved, and so has her career path. After spending much of her professional life prosecuting prison gangs, corrupt officials, and the mafia, she’s now the first female general partner at Silicon Valley investing powerhouse Andreessen Horowitz. Haun runs the $350 million cryptocurrency fund that launched last summer and was an early part of Facebook’s libra launch, making her one of the most recognizable investors in the space.

Becoming a prosecutor

Haun spent her early years abroad thanks to her parents’ jobs at a Fortune 500 company, and her teenage years in Cairo, Egypt. She moved back to the States to attend Boston University, then Stanford Law School, and began her career as a law clerk. Haun eventually working for Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy. When Kennedy asked where she wanted to be in ten years, Haun told him: “I want to be a prosecutor.” She got her break in an eastern Virginia district right out side of D.C. known as the “rocket docket” for the high volume of cases, and how fast they move from investigation to trial. It’s also well-known for its high-profile cases, covering the CIA, Pentagon and other federal agencies. She saw everything from international drug cartel to national security cases come across her desk. One of those first trials was a man smuggling firearms on airplanes in and out of D.C. at Reagan National. Haun was later sent on assignment to the Justice Department headquarters, working in a newly created group called the National Security Division, which was born out of post- 9/11 legislation. There, she monitored nationwide terrorism cases, including the Miami “dirty bomber” Jose Padilla trial. By 2009, she moved west. “At that time, California was in the midst of a bunch of things. A number of gang wars were going on,” she said. Haun prosecuted Nuestra Familia, one of the biggest prison gangs, as well as the Hells Angels, and the “Mongols” motorcycle gang. The latter two were in a violent battle with each other that culminated in the president of the Hell’s Angels being shot dead in the streets of San Francisco. “After the biker murder trial, I was looking to do something else — I was exhausted,” she said. “I changed my focus away from more of the violent criminal enterprises to some more of the kind of cyber security, white collar criminal organizations.”

‘Digital bread crumbs’

It was around that time that the bitcoin task came to her desk. “They said ‘we have this perfect assignment for you’ — there’s this thing called bitcoin and we need to investigate it,” she said. “That was the first time I’d ever heard of bitcoin.” She started viewing it through the same lens as she saw cash: bitcoin could enable criminal activity but it wasn’t responsible. In some ways, its technology actually helped her solve cases. Blockchain transactions are stored on a digital ledger that are visible to anyone but can’t be changed. That “digital bread crumb” helped her track down illegal funds more easily than tracking cash. Haun said it was even easier than credit cards or international bank accounts, which can be tough to subpoena. “The government was able to use that same technology to actually track down criminal activity it might not otherwise have been able to,” she said. “Without the without the technology underlying bitcoin, we never would have been able to catch those people.” Her deepest dive into crypto came through a white collar crime and public corruption case where government agents were exploiting early adopters of cryptocurrency. One of the agents stole about 20,000 bitcoin — worth about $160 million at today’s prices — while another extorted the creator of Silk Road, and stole from other early crypto investors. Had that crime been committed in cash, she said, it would have been nearly impossible to track these people down. She quickly became the in-house crypto expert and did see plenty of nefarious uses for cryptocurrency. But she said, a similar phenomenon had happened in the early days of the internet and cellphones. “Sometimes, the earliest adopters of new technologies are criminal,” she said. “Criminals are always looking for loopholes, or new ways to exploit systems.” Through investigations related to the now defunct cryptocurrency exchange Mt. Gox and famous internet black market, Silk Road, she got to know some of these early adopters. Legitimate players in the industry did not want their platforms to be for crime. But Haun said not all of them immediately warmed to the idea of trusting a government official. In 2015, she decided to form a task force to be a resource for other prosecutors and agents known as “digital currency coordinator.” Haun began hosting regulator meetings and training seminars with Treasury, IRS and other government agencies and other government officials working in the space. It was around that time she started teaching a class on cryptocurrency at her Alma mater, Stanford Law School, which is now taught at Stanford Graduate School of Business.

The ‘credible face of crypto’

After more than a decade, Haun was ready to leave the federal government, and “felt like she had accomplished what she wanted there.” Still, she wasn’t necessarily looking to go into the crypto space full time and was considering a higher level political appointment. In the meantime, she joined the board of cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase where she met Andreessen Horowitz partner Chris Dixon. It was Dixon, who she now runs the fund with, who floated the idea of talking to the firm’s founder, Ben Horowitz. While Haun said she had never contemplated an investing career, some of her skills as a federal prosecutor made her perfect for the role, Horowitz told CNBC. Until then, the venture capitalist said had never hired a prosecutor for anything: not even when he was CEO of Opsware, formerly Loudcloud, which was acquired by Hewlett-Packard for $1.6 billion in 2007. He immediately voted yes on Haun despite her lack of investing experience. What stood out was a “glow in the dark presence,” and a need to win, he said. She was also incredibly well networked with technical experts in the industry and to his knowledge, was the most well-known person in the field. Horowitz pointed to advice a mentor named Ken Coleman, a former executive at Silicon Graphics, gave him: the mistake people make “constantly” in Silicon Valley is they hire the resume instead of the skill set. They go in blindly, looking for someone from Greylock, Benchmark, Apple or Salesforce. “If you’re always fishing in the same pond as everybody else, you can’t get that big a recruiting advantage,” said Horowitz, who is also a former Netscape executive. “We wanted somebody who could be the kind of poised credible face of crypto.” He called her former boss at DOJ for a reference, and as Horowitz put it, his answer was “what are you stupid? This woman has never lost a case — she takes more cases than anybody, and she takes the hardest cases. There’s nobody like Katie here.” A mentor told Haun that the perfect job fit is somewhere “you know 50 percent of the job cold” and have 50 percent left to learn. This fit the bill, and she took it. But Haun ended up having a deeper skill set than she expected, thanks to days spent in front of a jury. In the deal process, she knew how to learn about a company. Instead of finding out who was a double agent, she was now sitting across the table and deciding who they could partner with. “Do we trust them? Are we going to be good partners for each other? They have these projections and these milestones — do we think that’s realistic?” These were all questions she was used to asking. Her other key skill set goes back to her days of describing complicated topics to a jury. Cryptocurrency is among the most inaccessible, opaque topics out there. “When you’re a prosecutor, you need to feel comfortable getting up in front of an audience of people who come from all walks of life and get them to understand a topic they might have never heard anything about,” Haun said.

Libra

Cryptocurrency was launched into the spotlight this summer after Facebook unveiled its digital currency project, libra. Andreessen Horowitz joined as a founding member, along with names like Visa, Mastercard, and Spotify. The Wall Street Journal first reported that the group behind the global currency payments network is becoming fractured with financial partners “reconsidering” involvement following a backlash from government officials, the Journal said, citing people familiar with the matter. PayPal announced on Friday that it was pulling out of the project. There are still roughly two dozen members in the association, who are working on charter documents that are expected to be finalized this fall. Haun would not comment on the progress, but said her team has an “active role” in the project. For now, she said there are still important technical questions are being worked out before it goes live. Libra immediately attracted drew widespread scrutiny in the days following its announcement. Facebook’s involvement caught the attention of senior congressional finance committee members, global regulators, former lawmakers and industry insiders who questioned Facebook’s motives. Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee, told CNBC in June that “it’s very important for them to stop right now what they’re doing so that we can get a handle on this” and Congress would “move aggressively” to deal with it.


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-10-06  Authors: kate rooney
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, criminal, meet, investing, crypto, haun, investigate, cryptocurrency, face, asked, cases, early, horowitz, prosecutor, used, bitcoin


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PayPal withdraws from Facebook’s libra cryptocurrency

PayPal is withdrawing from Facebook’s Libra Association, the company announced Friday. Facebook’s involvement caught the attention of senior congressional finance committee members, global regulators, former lawmakers and industry insiders who questioned Facebook’s motives. The Libra Association had been made up of 28 corporate backers, including Facebook, who are meant to help govern libra. Rep. Sylvia Garcia, D-Tex., a member of the House Financial Services Committee, said on a call with repor


PayPal is withdrawing from Facebook’s Libra Association, the company announced Friday. Facebook’s involvement caught the attention of senior congressional finance committee members, global regulators, former lawmakers and industry insiders who questioned Facebook’s motives. The Libra Association had been made up of 28 corporate backers, including Facebook, who are meant to help govern libra. Rep. Sylvia Garcia, D-Tex., a member of the House Financial Services Committee, said on a call with repor
PayPal withdraws from Facebook’s libra cryptocurrency Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-10-04  Authors: lauren feiner kate rooney, lauren feiner, kate rooney
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, facebook, withdraws, members, paypal, libra, association, house, cryptocurrency, financial, committee, facebooks, services


PayPal withdraws from Facebook's libra cryptocurrency

PayPal is withdrawing from Facebook’s Libra Association, the company announced Friday.

“PayPal has made the decision to forgo further participation in the Libra Association at this time and to continue to focus on advancing our existing mission and business priorities as we strive to democratize access to financial services for underserved populations,” PayPal said in a statement.

David Marcus, who leads the project at Facebook, was previously the president of PayPal. PayPal said it is still “supportive of Libra’s aspirations” and that it will continue to partner with Facebook in the future.

Dante Disparte, head of policy and communications for the Libra Association, said in an emailed statement, “We recognize that change is hard, and that each organization that started this journey will have to make its own assessment of risks and rewards of being committed to seeing through the change that Libra promises.”

Libra was greeted with widespread criticism after the cryptocurrency was announced in June. Facebook’s involvement caught the attention of senior congressional finance committee members, global regulators, former lawmakers and industry insiders who questioned Facebook’s motives.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said this summer that libra raises “serious concerns regarding privacy, money laundering, consumer protection, financial stability” and the Fed had launched a working group to examine it.

Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee, told CNBC in June that “it’s very important for them to stop right now what they’re doing so that we can get a handle on this” and Congress would “move aggressively” to deal with it.

Facebook has tried to mitigate lawmakers’ fears of libra in part by assuring them that Facebook would not have unilateral control of the currency.

The Libra Association had been made up of 28 corporate backers, including Facebook, who are meant to help govern libra. All founding members were expected to invest a minimum of $10 million to fund the operating costs of the association and launch an incentive program to drive adoption, according to Facebook’s initial announcement of the project, but those investments had not yet been made.

PayPal’s public defection could indicate the alliance is starting to fray.

On Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal reported that Visa, Mastercard and other financial partners that signed on are “reconsidering” involvement following a backlash from government officials.

Rep. Sylvia Garcia, D-Tex., a member of the House Financial Services Committee, said on a call with reporters Friday that PayPal’s decision to back out is “a clear indication that something’s amiss.” Garcia said she already had concerns about the members of the association, since Facebook seemed to be able to select its founding members.

“If I’m doing the inviting, then that’s controlling the entire agenda,” she said.

Lawmakers in the House Financial Services Committee are now seeking to bring Facebook’s top executives back to Capitol Hill to testify on libra, CNBC reported Friday. Two sources familiar with the situation told CNBC that the committee has been in talks with Facebook about bringing COO Sheryl Sandberg to testify this month, but that the hearing would be contingent on CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s agreement to appear before the committee.

WATCH: FB’s Marcus: There will be no special privilege for Facebook with Libra


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-10-04  Authors: lauren feiner kate rooney, lauren feiner, kate rooney
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, facebook, withdraws, members, paypal, libra, association, house, cryptocurrency, financial, committee, facebooks, services


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House members push for Zuckerberg to testify on Facebook’s cryptocurrency plans, not just his deputies

Members of the House of Representatives Financial Services Committee are no longer willing to settle for the testimony of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s deputies. Several representatives are pushing for Zuckerberg to testify on the company’s plans to launch a new cryptocurrency called libra following talks for his COO Sheryl Sandberg to appear before the committee. Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia, D-Tex., is among the committee members calling for Zuckerberg to appear before the committee. Rep. Lanc


Members of the House of Representatives Financial Services Committee are no longer willing to settle for the testimony of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s deputies. Several representatives are pushing for Zuckerberg to testify on the company’s plans to launch a new cryptocurrency called libra following talks for his COO Sheryl Sandberg to appear before the committee. Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia, D-Tex., is among the committee members calling for Zuckerberg to appear before the committee. Rep. Lanc
House members push for Zuckerberg to testify on Facebook’s cryptocurrency plans, not just his deputies Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-10-04  Authors: lauren feiner
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, sandberg, deputies, members, facebook, testify, appear, libra, house, testimony, push, cryptocurrency, committee, facebooks, plans, zuckerberg, waters


House members push for Zuckerberg to testify on Facebook's cryptocurrency plans, not just his deputies

Members of the House of Representatives Financial Services Committee are no longer willing to settle for the testimony of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s deputies. Several representatives are pushing for Zuckerberg to testify on the company’s plans to launch a new cryptocurrency called libra following talks for his COO Sheryl Sandberg to appear before the committee.

Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia, D-Tex., is among the committee members calling for Zuckerberg to appear before the committee. In a call with reporters on Friday, Garcia said she hopes Zuckerberg could answer questions more thoroughly than project lead David Marcus could at his July hearing.

“I think it is imperative that we get Mr. Zuckerberg before the committee,” Garcia said. “Obviously this is his brainchild and this is his company and I think he would be the one to have the answers.”

Garcia’s press secretary Robert Julien said there has been a “significant push” for Zuckerberg to testify before the committee, though he could not confirm how many representatives are involved in the effort.

Rep. Lance Gooden, R-Tex., also said he wants to see Zuckerberg appear before the committee. In an emailed statement, Gooden said, “After the last hearing my colleagues and I were left with more questions than answers. If Facebook shares our commitment to transparency for the American people then I hope Mr. Zuckerberg will share his testimony before the Committee.”

Zuckerberg’s right hand executive, COO Sheryl Sandberg, had been in talks to testify before the committee as soon as this month, CNBC previously reported. But two sources familiar with the situation told CNBC that the Oct. 29 hearing with Sandberg would not be confirmed until Zuckerberg agrees to appear before the committee. Chairwoman Maxine Waters, D-Calif., has called for Zuckerberg to appear by January, one of the sources said.

Facebook and a spokesperson for the committee declined to comment.

Waters had been critical of Facebook’s plans to create a new cryptocurrency at the committee’s Marcus in July. At the hearing, Waters had asked if Facebook would postpone its plans to launch libra until policymakers could implement appropriate regulations.

Marcus said, “I committed to waiting for us to have all the appropriate regulatory approvals and have addressed all concerns before moving forward.”

“That’s not a commitment,” Waters responded at the time.

The push for Zuckerberg’s testimony comes as other corporate backers for libra are reportedly questioning their involvement in the project. PayPal said Friday it is withdrawing from the Libra Assocation, the nonprofit that will govern the currency. That followed reports that Visa and MasterCard are among other financial partners reconsidering their role due to government pushback, according to The Wall Street Journal. Facebook has touted the role of outside firms as a way to assuage lawmakers’ fears that Facebook could have unilateral power over the currency.

Garcia said PayPal’s withdrawal is “a clear indication that something’s amiss,” but said she had already been concerned that Facebook seemed to essentially be able to choose its founding partners.

“If I’m doing the inviting, then that’s controlling the entire agenda,” she said.

Facebook introduced its plans for libra as it faces a growing number of investigations on the federal and local level. Zuckerberg has not testified on Capitol Hill since last year in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal. He recently returned to D.C. to meet with members of congress about impending internet regulation, but those meetings were all behind closed doors.

-CNBC’s Mary Catherine Wellons contributed to this report.

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WATCH: FB’s Marcus: There will be no special privilege for Facebook with Libra


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-10-04  Authors: lauren feiner
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, sandberg, deputies, members, facebook, testify, appear, libra, house, testimony, push, cryptocurrency, committee, facebooks, plans, zuckerberg, waters


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Tim Cook weighs in against launching an Apple cryptocurrency

Facial recognition technology needs controls on its use, World… Unlike other types of biometric data collection, such as fingerprints and iris scanning, facial recognition technology can collect information on people without them being…Technologyread more


Facial recognition technology needs controls on its use, World… Unlike other types of biometric data collection, such as fingerprints and iris scanning, facial recognition technology can collect information on people without them being…Technologyread more
Tim Cook weighs in against launching an Apple cryptocurrency Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-10-03
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, needs, tim, types, iris, apple, recognition, fingerprints, cryptocurrency, weighs, information, launching, facial, worldunlike, technology, scanning, cook


Tim Cook weighs in against launching an Apple cryptocurrency

Facial recognition technology needs controls on its use, World…

Unlike other types of biometric data collection, such as fingerprints and iris scanning, facial recognition technology can collect information on people without them being…

Technology

read more


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-10-03
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, needs, tim, types, iris, apple, recognition, fingerprints, cryptocurrency, weighs, information, launching, facial, worldunlike, technology, scanning, cook


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