Top Democrat Maxine Waters asks Mark Zuckerberg about Meta's digital asset plans

Quick Take

  • The California Democrat sent a letter to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Chief Operating Officer Javier Olivan on Monday, expressing concern over five trademark applications tied to digital assets that the company has filed over the past year. 
  • Rep. Waters has been critical of Meta’s foray into crypto, specifically its Libra stablecoin project

Maxine Waters, the top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, said she wants answers amid concern that Meta Platforms, formerly Facebook, could be delving back into its digital asset plans. 

The California Democrat sent a letter to CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Chief Operating Officer Javier Olivan on Monday, expressing concern over five trademark applications tied to digital assets that the company has filed over the past year. 

Those applications were for projects including an "online social networking and dating" service which allows for the exchange of digital currency, designing computer hardware and software related to blockchain, "currency trading of cryptocurrencies and other forms of virtual currency," among others. 

Waters has been critical of Meta's foray into crypto, specifically its Libra stablecoin project. Facebook said it planned to launch Libra, later known as Diem, in 2019, which quickly prompted concern among regulators and legislators who were hesitant about a stablecoin with ties to the social media company. 

Before Diem's eventual shuttering, Waters said she and other lawmakers sent a letter to Meta in 2019 asking for a moratorium on continued work on Libra and Calibra, its proposed digital wallet, over privacy and national security concerns. 

Waters points to past statements from Meta 

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Staff from Meta also told the committee Democrats in October that there was "no ongoing digital assets work at Meta," Waters said in her letter. 

"Meta staff stated that the company is not currently conducting, nor planning any work on blockchain-based products or stablecoins," Waters said. "Additionally, Meta staff asserted that Meta is not working with any partners on integrating stablecoins or cryptocurrency into any payments or Metaverse products, and is not pursuing research and development in the space."

However, Meta trademark applications suggest that Meta has not stopped the activity since it shut down Diem, Waters said

Waters asked the firm questions about projects it plans to pursue and whether it was "planning to launch a payments platform that supports cryptocurrency." The congresswoman did not set a timeline for a response. 

Meta did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 


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About Author

Sarah is a reporter at The Block covering policy, regulation and legal happenings. Before, Sarah was a reporter with CQ Legal writing about securities regulation, which is where she first started reporting on crypto. Sarah has also written for The Bond Buyer and American Banker, among other finance-related publications. She graduated from the University of Missouri and earned a degree in print and digital journalism. Sarah is based in Washington D.C., and is an avid coffee lover. You can follow her on Twitter @ForTheWynn.

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