Many members of Congress, in their observations of Facebook’s new cryptocurrency Libra, have referred to it in very strange ways (Rep. Brad Sherman probably took the big prize in this category by comparing Libra to the 9/11 attacks), and the latest comes from Rep. Bill Huizenga, a Republican from Michigan, who referred to Libra as both a “platypus” and a “traveler’s check” in the same conversation.
Huizenga Says Libra Doesn’t Know What It Wants to Be
Judging from the conversation he held with David Marcus, the leader of Facebook’s blockchain division and the primary developer of Libra, Huizenga seems to be having the hardest time with describing Libra for his listeners, asking:
Is it a security? Is it an exchange-traded product? What exactly is this? Is it fish or fowl? It seems it’s more of a platypus, to me.
What Huizenga seems to be saying is that Libra is a giant mash up of everything crypto. It wants to be a stable currency, yet also wants to be global and help the unbanked. It wants to be decentralized yet will be controlled primarily by a board of financial companies such as PayPal, Visa and Mastercard – the very definition of a centralized platform. Libra doesn’t appear to know what it wants to be classified as.
To be fair, however, it seems Huizenga uses the platypus metaphor whenever he can’t put his finger on something, particularly when it’s in the financial sector. During an interview last year, the Republican Congressman discussed cryptocurrency in general, and referred to the same platypus comparison when describing digital currency and its assorted properties.
It’s kind of an unknown, or something sort of in between. How do we deal with that? It turns out it might be a platypus.
This Is Before Your Time…
The Congressman also questioned how Libra planned to maintain its status as a form of crypto if it’s going to be subjected to so many regulations in the future. In the same conversation, he referred to Libra as a new type of “traveler’s check,” and explained what that was for the younger generations in the crowd that might not have been familiar with the concept:
You might be the equivalent of American Express traveler’s checks of days of old. For the lower dais and the staff… They were paper and you carried them with you.
What can likely be argued above all is that many Congressmen and political leaders have no idea what cryptocurrency is or how it works. Asking questions of David Marcus and hoping for true answers also probably isn’t the best route to take considering Facebook’s dishonest history. What we’re seeing is a Congress that needs to take some time to educate itself and study a little more prior to holding such a crucial hearing.
Cryptocurrency is a digital currency that uses encryption (cryptography) to regulate the generation of currency and verify the transfer of funds, independently of a central bank. Cryptography is the practice and study of techniques for secure communication in the presence of third party adversaries.
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