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McHenry: The reality is, whether Facebook is involved or not, change is here
Ranking Member calls for greater understanding of digital currency, Facebook’s Project Libra, & financial innovation


Washington, July 17, 2019 -

WASHINGTON – Today, the House Financial Services Committee is holding a hearing to learn more about Facebook’s recently announced digital currency proposal, Project Libra. Republican leader of the Committee, Patrick McHenry (NC-10), who called for this hearing last month, delivered opening remarks urging his colleagues to fight the knee-jerk reaction of Washington to stifle innovation and instead, work to fully understand it.

Watch Ranking Member McHenry’s opening remarks here or by clicking on the image below.

Read his full remarks as prepared for delivery:

“Thank you, Chairwoman Waters.

“We are here today to go beyond the headlines.

“We are here today to sift through the speculation and hearsay.

“Here’s just one of my favorite recent headlines, which asks:

“’Is Facebook Forming A Crypto Mafia as Libra Foundation Members Boost Each Other's Businesses?’

“Washington must go beyond the hype and ensure that it’s not the place where innovation goes to die.

“Just because we may not fully understand a new technology proposal does not mean we should immediately call for its prohibition. Especially when that proposal is still just that: a proposal.

“But, it’s Facebook.

“And I’m also skeptical. But we can either make you a political talking point, or we can choose to conduct thoughtful government oversight.

“The reality is, whether Facebook is involved or not, change is here. Digital currencies exist, blockchain technology is real, and Facebook’s entry in this new world is just confirmation, albeit at scale.

“The world that Satoshi Nakamoto, author of the Bitcoin white paper, envisioned, and others are building, is an unstoppable force. We should not attempt to deter this innovation. And governments cannot stop this innovation.

“So, the question then, becomes:

“What are American policymakers going to do to meet the challenges and opportunities of this new world of innovation? 

“Some politicians want us to live in a permission-based society, where you need the government’s blessing before you even begin to think about innovating. Those that would rather ‘kill it before it grows.’

“But, there are others who believe in the vibrancy of American ingenuity.

“That recognize our economy was built off of generations of entrepreneurs and innovators that through testing, tinkering, and iterating-- got us here today.

“To be clear, we are not advocating for the ‘break it and figure it out later’ mentality that may have worked in an earlier era of technology.

“When it comes to our finances, we must ensure that consumers and investors are protected. Policymakers and innovators must work together to make sure people are protected.

“So, Mr. Marcus, let’s get to work.

“Instead of the knee-jerk reaction of banning something before it begins, my Republican colleagues and I first want to try and understand it.

“And in turn, based on what we learn, determine whether or not our current regulatory framework meets the demands of this new technology.

“That’s why we’re here today.

“Look, I don’t have a crystal ball. I have no idea if Libra will lead to greater financial inclusion and lower remittance costs, which would mean families sending money to each other cheaper and more easily, or if it was just a ploy to shoot Facebook’s Twitter mentions through the roof.

“What I do know is this:

“Republicans stand ready to work with innovators to successfully implement responsible technology here in the U.S., before we lose out to other countries around the world.

“I ask my colleagues to join the side of innovation, ingenuity, and the entrepreneurial spirit this nation was founded upon.

“Again, Chairwoman Waters, I thank you for holding this hearing I called for last month and I look forward to hearing from you Mr. Marcus, and our second panel of industry experts.

“Thank you all for being here today for this important conversation.”

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