San Francisco (awp / afp) – Facebook's digital currency project, Libra, will "perpetuate the dominance of the US financial system" in the world, said Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook boss, in his speech to say Wednesday before the American parliamentary committee.
In his opening address on Tuesday, he described Libra as a major financial innovation, needed to protect the country against China's rise in the cryptocurrency sector.
Scheduled to be launched in 2020, Libra faces protests from many governments around the world, which see it as a threat to the country's economic sovereignty.
"While we are debating, the whole world is not waiting, and China is actively preparing to launch similar ideas in the coming months," Zuckerberg said.
"Libra will basically be supported by the dollar, and I think it will perpetuate the dominance of the US financial system and our democratic values in the world. If America does not innovate, our financial dominance is not guaranteed." he insisted.
The young billionaire has acknowledged that Facebook's mistakes about privacy and personal data protection can give the impression that social networking "is not the ideal messenger nowadays".
But he repeated the stated project goals – supporting those excluded from the current banking system, including migrants – and the planned governance structure of an independent board consisting of businesses and nonprofit organizations.
"People pay exorbitant prices, and have to wait too long to send money to their families abroad," he explained.
"The Libra project must enable better financial inclusion, at a low price … Research shows that access to financial services can help lift people out of poverty." We believe that this problem can be resolved, and we want to be part of the solution, "he continued.
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Tuesday reiterated his opposition to the project, saying many concerns remained unresolved, such as "the problem of money laundering".
afp / rp