In a series of tweets this weekend, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong let the world know what he thought about the United States government’s response to Facebook’s proposed Libra digital currency payment system. In his tweets, Armstrong called the U.S. response “ridiculous” and suggested that the government was acting like it wanted “to be left behind.”
“Now that China is looking into creating a stablecoin, I wonder if the U.S. will reconsider it's ridiculous response to Libra.
There are many cryptocurrencies, and Libra is just one of them. But the way the U.S. government reacted it's like they almost want to be left behind.”
Armstrong warned that counties need to invest in science and technology and promote innovation if they want to “remain relevant over the long term and have high economic growth.” He suggested that assistance from government would be welcome, but that its first job is to “do no harm.”
“The best first step is often just to stay out of the way. Innovation often looks counter-intuitive and disruptive. Government is prone to being co-opted by special interests/incumbents that will play on fears and try to block innovation here.”
The twitter response to Armstrong’s comments was generally negative, with more than one person suggesting that Facebook should not be trusted to operate its own currency. For example, a poster named CryptoZin asked, “That much power for a company already that big? Sure... Real good idea...”
Someone posting as Organic Astronaut noted that, “China is a country… facebook is a data stealing privacy lying corrupt propaganda machine run by people who do not have our best interest in mind” while another poster going by the twitter handle Hernz was just as blunt: “A currency run by facebook has got to be one of the dumbest ideas in the blockchain industry.”
Another, Loshan, made reference to Coinbase’s status as a founding member of the Libra Association, and asked Armstrong:
“Brian, have you taken a chance to think about why your opinions on crypto differ from the majority of the community?
It’s because you live in a bubble... when Coinbase joined the Libra consortium, did it come to you mind that no one trusts Facebook with their personal data.”