Brad Sherman, a Democrat member of the U.S House of Representatives, called Facebook’s Libra a greater threat to the country than Al-Qaeda terrorist Osama bin Laden.
The sensationalist claim was made today during the House Financial Services Committee hearing on the social media giant’s upcoming cryptocurrency.
Brad Sherman (D-California) used his allotted five minutes of questioning during the hearing to blast the Libra, calling it the “Zuck Buck” and “Zuckerberg’s baby.”
However, it was his comparison of the crypto to the terrorist mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks that caused murmurs of shock and confusion to ripple through the congressional chamber.
“We’re told by some that innovation is always good. The most innovative thing that happened this century is when Osama bin Laden got 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,” he added.
Sherman maintains – like many of his colleagues – that the Libra will be used for illicit activities, such as financing terrorism and money laundering.
The 10-term Democrat representative was also highly critical of Facebook itself for developing the cryptocurrency.
“They wanna solve two other problems: problem number one, Zuckerberg can’t print money yet,” Sherman quipped.
“And problem number two, Zuckerberg is under attack because he invades the privacy of ordinary Americans and sells it to the highest bidder.”
Facebook defends itself
During the hearing, David Marcus, the chief executive officer of Calibra, Facebook’s financial services subsidiary and digital wallet provider for Libra, said the company will have experts in place that will make sure their wallet will comply with all anti-money laundering and KYC regulations.
With his new “Zuck Buck” #cryptocurrency, Zuckerberg is trying to defeat our anti-money laundering laws. @facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is sending a Friend Request to Oligarchs, Drug Dealers, Human Traffickers, and Terrorists. pic.twitter.com/wU4CuYmO1p
— Rep. Brad Sherman (@BradSherman) July 17, 2019
Sherman’s response was that he does not believe the social media platform will follow through on the pledge and that the Libra could be used to finance terrorism.
“Someone with an understanding of the politics of this country needs to explain to Zuckerberg that if cryptocurrency is used to finance the next terrorist attacks against Americans, a hundred lawyers … are not going to protect his rear end from the wrath of the American people,” he said.
Not a fan of crypto
Congressman Sherman’s anti-cryptocurrency stance is well known and he has publicly spoken out against it and related technologies in the past.
In March 2018, during a House subcommittee hearing on ICOs, he opened his remarks by saying that “cryptocurrencies are a crock.”
He later said on record that Bitcoin only allows “a few dozen men in my district to sit in their pajamas on their couch all day, and tell their wives they are going to be millionaires.”
He even called for a ban on crypto mining and the use of cryptocurrency by U.S. citizens back in July 2018, saying that virtual currency is only good for criminals engaging in tax evasion, narcotics, and terrorism.
The market rallies despite criticism
Unlike yesterday’s Senate Banking Committee hearing on Libra, during which the price of Bitcoin fell nearly 8 percent, today’s hearing appears to have had the opposite effect.
Bitcoin, which had reached a month-to-date low of US$9,187 [AU$13,101] just prior to the hearing, rose steadily throughout the day and is currently trading at $9,881 – a gain of more than 7.5 percent.
Top altcoins are reporting similar gains, according to CoinMarketCap.