FILE PHOTO: Jay Clayton, Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, speaks during an interview with CNBC at the Sandler O’Neill + Partners Global Exchange and Brokerage Conference in New York, U.S., June 6, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A top U.S. financial market regulator said on Tuesday he has not discussed with Facebook its Libra currency proposal, nearly a month after the social media giant announced the project.
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Jay Clayton told Reuters that he has not personally discussed the ambitious project with Facebook since it was announced on June 18 but “was interested” in hearing from the company.
The slow outreach to Clayton from Facebook underscored challenges the company has had with its Libra rollout in Washington.
Clayton could play a key role in potentially regulating Libra and has taken a critical stance of cryptocurrencies in his time at the SEC. He has warned that issuing such currencies often amounts to a securities offering and must comply with key regulations. On Tuesday, Clayton said he wanted to learn more about Facebook’s thinking on the matter.
“I am keenly interested in their securities law analysis,” he told Reuters on the sidelines of an event in Washington.
Facebook is facing criticism across Washington over Libra, including complaints that it has not sufficiently explained its efforts.
Facebook has reportedly met with other officials at the SEC, as the regulator mulls whether the digital currency should fall under their oversight.
A number of top regulatory officials, including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, have expressed concerns about the risks a broadly-adopted digital currency like Libra could pose. David Marcus, Facebook’s lead official on the effort, was grilled by lawmakers Tuesday over data privacy and other security concerns.
A spokesman for Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Reporting by Katanga Johnson and Pete Schroeder; Editing by Cynthia Osterman