Mark Zuckerberg will testify before Congress on Libra and Facebook’s cryptocurrency plans, while several more large companies dropped out of the project; CFTC Chairman Tarbert said the ether cryptocurrency should be treated as a commodity; the SEC halted Telegram’s $1.7B token offering; Robinhood rolled out interest-bearing accounts; BIS and the Swiss National Bank are exploring the potential for a central bank digital currency in Switzerland; and UNICEF established a fund for donations made in cryptocurrencies.
E-Trade followed Charles Schwab and TD Ameritrade in dropping its transaction commission fees; PayPal has withdrawn from the Libra Association amid regulatory and legal concerns, and others may follow; the FSB is scrutinizing the concentration of bank services in three major cloud providers; PayPal became the first non-Chinese company to gain a Chinese payments license; and a Wells Fargo study concluded that new technologies will replace 200,000 bank jobs in the next decade.
Libra faced a new round of criticism at the G-7 summit, while maintaining that it will go live in 2020; Wells Fargo partnered with Plaid to allow customer financial data; Deutsche Bank signed on to the JPMorgan-backed IIN; Wells Fargo plans to pilot a stablecoin; and Stripe raised $250M at a $35B valuation.
The CFPB launched a program to encourage collaboration between state and federal regulators on financial innovation; the London Stock Exchange unanimously rejected the Hong Kong Exchange’s £29.6 billion takeover bid; Switzerland’s financial regulator published new guidance on stablecoins and confirmed that the Libra Association requested an assessment of its Libra coin; Blockstack raised more than $20 million in the first SEC-approved token sale; and Stripe launched a corporate credit card for business customers.
Libra is facing scrutiny from European antitrust regulators; N26 launched in the U.S. market; Mark Carney suggested potentially replacing USD with crypto as the world’s reserve currency; Apple launched its credit card to U.S. consumers; Mastercard experienced a data breach affecting mostly German customers; and Tala raised $110M in Series D funding.
The U.S. Treasury Secretary said U.S. regulators are likely to issue new crypto regulations; despite misgivings about Facebook, Congress appears unlikely to block its plans to go live with Libra; the IRS is warning U.S. taxpayers to review and potential revise their tax returns to account for gains from crypto transactions; Apple’s new credit card is expected to launch in August; Robinhood raised over $300 million at a $7.6B valuation; and Facebook is readying its launch of WhatsApp Pay in India.