- Facebook shares are heading higher as CEO Mark Zuckerberg is testifying on the company's cryptocurrency project.
- Zuckerberg discussed how libra will help 'extend America's financial leadership' and help spread democratic values.
- But he also faced tough lines of questioning from many congressional officials.
Shares of Facebook climbed 2.1% on Wednesday. The stock started to climb around 10:45 a.m. EST, as Zuckerberg began to deliver his prepared remarks to the House Financial Services Committee.
In his opening statement, Zuckerberg discussed how libra, Facebook's cryptocurrency project, will help "extend America's financial leadership" and encourage democratic values around the world. He also emphasized that Facebook won't take steps to develop libra without necessary approval from US regulators.
Once again, Zuckerberg attempted to distance Facebook from the Libra Association, which is the group that oversees libra, by saying that the group will determine the future of the cryptocurrency -- even though the idea was originally developed internally at Facebook by Facebook employees. The Libra Association recently saw several key members depart, including Visa, Mastercard, PayPal and eBay, among others.
"I would hope that the Association will weigh our recommendation and what we say publicly that we think should happen, but if at the end of the day, we don't receive the clearances that we feel like we need to move forward, and the Association chooses to move forward without us, then we will be in a position where we will not be a part of the Association," he testified.
He also faced tough lines of questioning from congressional officials, many of whom pointed out the cryptocurrency's national security risks and questioned Zuckerberg's argument that libra will help serve people in developing countries who don't have access to banking services.
"For the richest man in the world to come here and hide behind the poorest people in the world, and say that's who you're really trying to help," said Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif. "You're trying to help those for whom the dollar is not a good currency – drug dealers and tax evaders."