Facebook discussed the launch of its cryptocurrency with the Fed, Jerome Powell says


Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell speaks during a press conference after the Fed announced interest rates would remain unchanged, in Washington, DC, January 30, 2019.

Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said on Wednesday that Facebook spoke to the central bank about the digital currency called Libra that the tech giant is helping create.

“Facebook, I believe, has made quite broad rounds around the world with regulators, supervisors and lots of people to discuss their plans and that certainly includes us,” Powell said.

“We meet with a broad range of financial sector firms all the time on financial technology,” Powell said. “There’s just a tremendous amount of innovation going on out there.”

“There are potential benefits here; there are also potential risks, particularly of a currency that could potentially have large application,” Powell said. “We will wind up having quite high expectations from a safety and soundness and regulatory standpoint if they do decide to move forward with something.”

Powell noted that the Fed does not have “plenary authority” over cryptocurrencies like Libra. Instead, Powell said the central bank instead may have influence over the widespread adoption of cryptocurrency “through international forums” because the Fed has “significant input into the payment system.”

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.

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