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The Democratic congressman spoke at the House Financial Services Committee hearing on Facebook’s digital currency, where he slammed Mark Zuckerberg’s plans to launch Libra and suggested the “most innovative thing that happened this century” was the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks that killed thousands of Americans.
“We’re told by some that innovation is always good. The most innovative thing that happened this century was when Bin Laden came up with the innovative idea of flying two airplanes into towers,” Sherman said. “That’s the most consequential innovation, although this may do more to endanger America than even that.”
A mock "Zuck Buck" depicted on a screen as David Marcus, CEO of Facebook's Calibra, is questioned by Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif., during a House Financial Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington Wednesday. (AP)
Sherman claimed that no one would call the digital currency Libra, but instead refer to it as “Zuck Buck” because “this is Zuckerberg’s baby.” He said the digital currency could be a “godsend of drug dealers and tax evaders” with the potential to be used for “other nefarious purposes.”
Facebook executive David Marcus — who heads the company’s digital wallet, Calibra — answered lawmakers' questions on Tuesday and Wednesday about the social media giant’s cryptocurrency plans. The company announced last month it’s planning to roll out a new cryptocurrency platform that will be available in Messenger, WhatsApp and as a standalone app.
Facebook said it plans to launch the digital currency in 2020.
Lawmakers from both parties also demanded the company delay Libra’s launch until their concerns are addressed.
“A 2020 launch date demonstrates deep insensitivities around how Libra could impact U.S. national security, the global financial system, the privacy of people across the globe, criminal activity and international human rights,” said Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Miss.
New York Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., asked Marcus if Facebook would commit to doing a small pilot program first to address numerous concerns from U.S. officials.
Marcus said Facebook will launch the project responsibly and make sure there's "appropriate oversight." In response, Maloney said if Facebook can't commit to a pilot test, "Congress should seriously consider stopping this project from moving forward."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.