Investor and Shark Tank shark Kevin ‘Mr. Wonderful’ O’Leary has dismissed concerns raised against Facebook’s cryptocurrency Libra.
Speaking on CNBC, the avowed Bitcoin skeptic stated that Libra has the capacity to become accepted and consequently useful with effective regulation.
Stemming from this O’Leary is bullish on the social media giant’s future prospects. On the other hand, Bitcoin will die once a regulated cryptocurrency such as Libra comes along, per the Shark Tank star:
It’s [Bitcoin] going to go to zero one day when somebody brings a regulated product, which is why I’m excited about Facebook. I like their chances.
O’Leary: Libra will Survive, Bitcoin will not
Even as policymakers and politicians continue to raise concerns over Facebook’s crypto plans, the Shark Tank host revealed that he remains positive about the social media giant’s future. O’Leary revealed that his faith in Facebook stemmed from the fact that it has weathered previous storms in the past brought about by a wide range of issues such as privacy abuses and election interference.
During the same interview, O’Leary did not miss the opportunity to bash Bitcoin. He explained that his ‘hate’ for the cryptocurrency was driven by the fact that it ‘doesn’t solve any problems’ unless one is ‘a criminal, a thief, a drug dealer’.
Given the criticisms and opposition that have greeted Facebook’s crypto plans since they were announced last month, O’Leary’s optimism regarding Libra places him in the minority. The CEO of JPMorgan Chase Jamie Dimon has, for instance, likened Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency to blockchain technology which has been a buzzword for ‘years and very little has happened’.
Not many likes for Facebook’s Libra
Last week U.S. President Donald Trump revealed his distaste for cryptocurrencies while indicating that Facebook would have to get a banking charter if it was interested in offering banking services. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has since then agreed with Trump’s statements saying that Libra has raised ‘very significant concerns’.
I absolutely share the presidents concern about bitcoin & cryptocurrency says @stevenmnuchin1. “Libra in particular raises some very significant concerns” pic.twitter.com/k5lepwVKbQ
— Squawk Box (@SquawkCNBC) July 18, 2019
Part of the opposition to Facebook is arising from the negative reputation it has built with its history of broken trust as pertains to how it has treated user data in the past.
As it seeks to launch Libra, Facebook finds itself in the unenviable position of being perhaps the first innovative new product to which Washington has an immediate, decisive reaction https://t.co/0thY2PXQPD
— Allon Advocacy (@AllonAdvocacy) July 18, 2019
The chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee for instance stated during Congressional hearings on Libra this week that Facebook’s cryptocurrency plans had raised ‘serious privacy’ concerns as well as national security and monetary policy worries. This was not just for the social media giant’s members but also to non-users around the world.
As the world turns… against Facebook
While Facebook’s blockchain and cryptocurrency lead David Marcus has tried to win the U.S. regulators and policymakers by arguing that America could lose on the digital currency and payments race by curtailing Libra, the rest of the world is equally wary of the social media giant.
As the U.S. congressional leaders were grilling Marcus mid this week G7 bloc expressed concerns about Libra while indicating the ‘need for action’. Among the measures that the G7 bloc is proposing include regulations that will span the globe to prevent Libra from upending the existing financial system.