Zuckerberg: Facebook 'would be forced to leave' the Libra Association if it moves forward before regulators approve

Key Points
  • Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified on the company's new cryptocurrency project in front of the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday.
  • The hearing comes after the formation of the Libra Association, which is independent from Facebook and will govern the currency.
  • Zuckerberg said he cannot control the Libra Association but said Facebook would pull out of the group if it decides to move forward before receiving regulatory approval.
Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg testified on Project Libra — Here are some key moments

Facebook could be forced to abandon its own cryptocurrency project if the newly created group steering it decides to move forward without regulatory approval, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Wednesday during his testiomony at a House Financial Services hearing.

"Facebook will not be part of launching the libra payments system anywhere in the world until U.S. regulators approve," Zuckerberg said.

Zuckerberg said more than once during the first leg of the hearing that he cannot speak for the independent Libra Association, which was officially formed last week. Facebook is joined by 20 other members in the Libra Association, which will govern the currency. However, the original idea for libra was generated inside Facebook by Facebook employees.

Given Facebook's insistence that libra is separate from its company, lawmakers wanted to know how Facebook would make good on its promise to wait for U.S. regulatory approval. Zuckerberg said if the Libra Association voted to move forward without the clearances Facebook feels it needs, "we would be forced to leave the organization."

Zuckerberg: Libra partners left because it's a risky project

Earlier in the hearing, Rep. Nydia Velazquez, D-N.Y., asked if Zuckerberg would also wait for Congress to provide an updated legal framework for regulators who will decide whether to approve the project. Zuckerberg said he thinks Congress has an appropriate oversight role over regulators already, which Velazquez said she takes as a "no."

However, Facebook is still funding the Libra Association, Zuckerberg said in his testimony. The members have not paid their $10 million fees yet, and Zuckerberg said that figure could change.

The Libra Association recently saw several key members depart, including Visa, Mastercard, PayPal and eBay, among others.

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Watch: Mark Zuckerberg's opening statement to Congress

Watch Mark Zuckerberg's opening statement to Congress