Fake News And Moron Alert: Facebook Going Ahead With Libra
The still young crypto news community was abuzz with talk earlier this week that Facebook was not going ahead with its infamous Libra cryptocurrency. The supposed basis for this was a Facebook securities regulatory filing in the United States (accessible here at https://www.sec.gov/ix?doc=/Archives/edgar/data/1326801/000132680119000055/fb-06302019x10q.htm).
Let me be clear. The reporters spouting this nonsense have no idea what they’re talking about! This is pure rubbish! I say that, with many years’ experience as an American securities lawyer. I’ve written company filings that have been reviewed by the securities regulators (America’s Securities and Exchange Commission). The reporters are wrong. But they want your traffic. This is just clickbait!
Here are the facts. Facebook is a publicly-reporting company and is required under American law to make periodic reports to regulators and the investing public several times a year. In its last quarterly report (see the link above), the company included “risk factor” language which appears in full below:
— From Facebook’s 10-Q filed July 24, 2019:
Our participation in the Libra Association will subject us to significant regulatory scrutiny and other risks that could adversely affect our business, reputation, or financial results.
We recently announced our participation in the Libra Association, which will oversee a proposed digital currency powered by blockchain technology, and our plans for Calibra, a digital wallet for Libra which we expect to launch in Messenger, WhatsApp, and as a standalone application.
Libra is based on relatively new and unproven technology, and the laws and regulations surrounding digital currency are uncertain and evolving. Libra has drawn significant scrutiny from governments and regulators in multiple jurisdictions and we expect that scrutiny to continue. As a primary sponsor of the initiative, we are participating in responses to inquiries from governments and regulators, and adverse government or regulatory actions or negative publicity resulting from such participation may adversely affect our reputation and harm our business.
As this initiative evolves, we may be subject to a variety of laws and regulations in the United States and international jurisdictions, including those governing payments, financial services, and anti-money laundering. In many jurisdictions, the application or interpretation of these laws and regulations is not clear, particularly with respect to evolving laws and regulations that are applied to blockchain and digital currency. These laws and regulations, as well as any associated inquiries or investigations, may delay or impede the launch of the Libra currency as well as the development of our products and services, increase our operating costs, require significant management time and attention, or otherwise harm our business.
In addition, market acceptance of such currency is subject to significant uncertainty. As such, there can be no assurance that Libra or our associated products and services will be made available in a timely manner, or at all. We do not have significant prior experience with digital currency or blockchain technology, which may adversely affect our ability to successfully develop and market these products and services. We will also incur increased costs in connection with our participation in the Libra Association and the development and marketing of associated products and services, and our investments may not be successful. Any of these events could adversely affect our business, reputation, or financial results.”
[End of section]
There is absolutely nothing newsworthy in this. This language is designed and drafted by lawyers to help the company avoid lawsuits for “failure to disclose material risks” should something happen and Facebook stock plunges tomorrow to US$0. It simply means that, until Libra is issued, and actually does what Facebook thinks it can do, Libra might not actually do what everyone is saying it will do.
Take it from someone who has written these documents before. There is nothing here. Nothing has changed.
But stay tuned, because later I’ll write about what Facebook should have disclosed about Libra.