Calibra, a digital currency wallet built by Facebook, is beefing up its compliance team as the company tries to convince U.S. and European regulators that the social media giant’s Libra project poses no legal threat. Now it’s bringing that conviction to the fore by hiring for a new compliance team to manage the many legal pitfalls it will face.
For example, the company is looking for a specialist that will “lead the identification and analysis of our regulatory requirement and create policies, procedures and controls to ensure Calibra is fully compliant with all Sanctions requirements.” The job posting appeared on Facebook’s career website overnight.
The sanctions lead will be working with Calibra’s legal and policy teams, interact with Facebook’s partners as well as the government agencies and regulators to ensure the product complies with worldwide requirements.
Facebook is also looking for additional brainpower to enforce Calibra’s general legal compliance efforts. One posting, for a Bank Secrecy Act and anti-money laundering (BSA/AML) leader, calls for a skilled banking executive to ensure Calibra’s policies “are designed to comply with BSA/AML related laws and regulations globally.”
Other related jobs currently open include head of compliance and a head of fraud. The career website is currently listing 27 jobs at Calibra alone, among the 47 jobs related to Facebook’s blockchain work.
All of these new hires aims to help Facebook engender trust in its system. The Libra project, announced earlier this summer with support from the world’s leading financial organizations, raised concerns worldwide. Congress grilled the project’s head David Marcus during two hearings, citing concerns for the project’s implications for the U.S. monetary system. They were also concerned with fraud prevention, and data privacy.
An anti-trust investigation into Calibra in the European Union did not make matters easier for Facebook. As now both the U.S. and E.U. authorities are concerned with the project’s scale and consequences, two out of 28 members of the Libra Association told FT they wanted out.
Facebook is also strengthening its lobbying efforts. As reported Tuesday morning, Facebook hired Washington D.C.-based lobbyist John Collins, previously the head of policy at Coinbase, to work on “issues related to blockchain policy.”
Earlier in August, Facebook also hired Susan Zook of Mason Street Consulting, who previously worked as an aid to Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho). Crapo chaired the Senate hearing dedicated to Libra on July 16.
Telecommunications giant Huawei’s chief executive has said that the time is ripe for China’s government to preempt Facebook’s Libra.
Speaking in an interview with Italian media outlet L’economia, CEO Ren Zhengfei remarked that China has the capability to pursue such an undertaking. He was asked a question about U.S. global hegemony and Facebook’s issuance of an international currency specifically.
Ren was quoted as saying (according to a translation):
“Even China is able to issue such currencies, why wait for Libra? The strength of a state is greater than that of an Internet company.”
Ren was not necessarily looking to take his company toe-to-toe with the social media giant. Though his firm has made significant inroads in the blockchain space – including joining the Hyperledger consortium and releasing a blockchain-backed cloud service – he instead pointed to the advancements in blockchain technology made by the Chinese nation-state.
In May, the People’s Bank of China hired blockchain experts in a move to widen its distributed network investments, useful for “large scale transactions,” bank representatives said at the time.
Additionally, while some members of China’s central bank have said that Libra’s deployment could negatively impact the country’ economy, Wang Xin, head of the research bureau at the People’s Bank of China, said the competition could propel the country to issue its own national cryptocurrency.
In fact, a few weeks after Libra was announced, searches on the China’s web search giant Weibo skyrocketed. This is in spite of the fact that Facebook has been banned in the country since 2009.