Skip to Content
Resize Text:      A A
Home  /  Newsroom  /  Headlines
Jul 17, 2019   |  Missoula Current

Tester, Senate Banking Committee, question Facebook's plans for digital currency

Missoula Current

By: Martin Kidston

Senators questioned Facebook's plans to launch a new virtual currency on Tuesday while noting the company's past privacy breaches, including its release of consumer data during the 2016 presidential race.

Sen. Jon Tester and other members of the Senate Banking Committee quizzed David Marcus, the Facebook executive leading the project, on how the company plans to prevent fraud, money laundering and terrorism financing as it introduces the new global currency next year.
"Facebook hasn't been meritorious - and I'm being generous," Tester said during Tuesday's committee hearing. "The past performance of Facebook has not been aggressive enough. And it has had some pretty negative impacts on some stuff worldwide."
Facebook claims that its digital currency, known as Libra, will allow people to send money online cheaper and faster while opening access to financial services. The currency would be managed through a "digital wallet" dubbed Calibra.

But members of the committee focused their concerns on the risks, such as bad actors abusing the system. Money laundering, financing terrorism and potential threats to data privacy also remain concerns, Tester said.
"I have a number of concerns, one of them being consumer security," Tester said. "How are you going to prevent bad actors from using the application?"

Marcus said Facebook plans to take number of steps to mitigate the concerns raised by members of the Congress. The system will be backed one-for-one, he said, to ensure that it's stable and retains its value, preventing a feared run that led to the collapse of several big banks during the 2008 financial crisis.

Marcus said the company will also build security into the system.

"When anyone will open an account, you will have to authenticate and upload your government issued ID," Marcus said in response to Tester's questions. "We'll have real identity on top of the Calibra Wallet, and we'll have systems and a dedicated team to prevent fraudulent activity and, of course, to meet our requirements of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism funding monitoring."
Other members of the committee weren't assured, saying "the core issue here is trust." Facebook's past performance when protecting user privacy and data has tarnished its reputation in the eyes of some lawmakers.

"To earn people's trust, we will have the highest standards for privacy," Marcus said. "The way we've built this is to separate social from financial data."

Office Contact Information

Senator Tester's Montana staff serves the state from offices in Billings, Bozeman, Butte, Great Falls, Helena, Kalispell, and Missoula. Please bring your concerns with federal agencies, academy nominations, and other situations to one of these Montana offices.


Judge Jameson Federal Building
2900 4th Ave N, Suite 201
Billings, MT 59101
Phone: (406) 252-0550
Fax: (406) 252-7768


Avant Courier Building
1 E Main Street, Suite 202
Bozeman, MT 59715
Phone: (406) 586-4450
Fax: (406) 586-7647


Silver Bow Center
125 W Granite, Suite 200
Butte, MT 59701
Phone: (406) 723-3277
Fax: (406) 782-4717

Great Falls

119 1st Avenue N, Suite 102
Great Falls, MT 59401
Phone: (406) 452-9585
Fax: (406) 452-9586


Capital One Center
208 N Montana Avenue, Suite 202
Helena, MT 59601
Phone: (406) 449-5401
Fax: (406) 449-5462


8 Third Street E
Kalispell, MT 59901
Phone: (406) 257-3360
Fax: (406) 257-3974


130 W Front St.
Missoula, MT 59802
Phone: (406) 728-3003
Fax: (406) 728-2193

Home   |   Meet Jon   |   Services   |   Newsroom   |   Legislation   |   Contact   |   Privacy