Facebook’s cryptocurrency project has faced a lot of political and regulatory backlash since being announced in June. Now it has hired FS Vector, the public policy advisory firm, to lobby on its behalf in Washington.
FS Vector is run by John Collins who used to be the head of policy at Coinbase, the cryptocurrency exchange and wallet service.
The firm has now signed Facebook as a client to deal with “issues related to blockchain policy”, according to a report by CoinDesk based on official disclosure filings.
This is not the first link between Coinbase and Libra. A few weeks ago Coinbase acquired Xapo, the secure Bitcoin storage. Xapo is one of Libra’s founding members.
The hiring of FS Vector comes as Libra is facing a lot of political pressure in both the US and in other countries. For instance, authorities from the UK, Australia, the USA, Canada, Burkina Faso, Albania and the EU have signed an open letter regarding Libra. They asked Facebook to be more transparent about its digital currency and its infrastructure.
However, this pressure does not seem to have fazed many of the cryptcurrency’s backers, according to sources close to the Libra Association speaking with CoinDesk. “We always knew this was something that was going to be hard,” one such source told CoinDesk.
Nevertheless, some are not as steadfast. Three of the organization’s 28 backers are seemingly looking for ways to distance themselves from the project, according to a report in the Financial Times.
As the backlash against Libra grows, other cryptocurrencies are moving to avoid getting trapped in the fallout. Apparently, some crypto lobbyists are trying to convince lawmakers that the push to prevent or at least slow down the expected 2020 launch of Libra should not apply to other cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, according to a report by Bloomberg.
“What we don’t want to happen is members of Congress for the first time come in and author legislation that aims to go after Facebook and inadvertently takes out the other part of the industry,” said Kristin Smith, director of the Blockchain Association, a trade group that represents several large cryptocurrency companies, when speaking to Bloomberg.