US Lawmakers Press Meta Over Crypto and Blockchain Plans

US Lawmakers Press Meta Over Crypto and Blockchain Plans – The House Financial Services Committee in the United States is urging Meta to disclose its blockchain or cryptocurrency-related intentions, considering that there are still five active trademark applications related to cryptocurrency and blockchain from 2022.

In a letter dated January 22, Committee ranking member Maxine Waters addressed Meta founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg and operating chief Javier Olivan, expressing that the trademark applications, all submitted on March 18, 2022, seem to indicate an ongoing commitment to broaden the company’s participation in the digital assets ecosystem.

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Waters pointed out that despite Meta’s assertion to Democratic Financial Services Committee staff on October 12, 2023, that there is no ongoing work on digital assets at Meta, the submitted trademark applications indicate otherwise. In mid-2019, Meta scrapped its intentions for the Diem payments cryptocurrency (formerly known as Libra) under pressure from lawmakers. 

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Subsequently, in January 2022, Meta sold Diem to the now-defunct Silvergate Bank for $200 million. Meta’s initial plan in mid-2019 to launch a digital wallet named Novi (previously known as Calibra) by 2020 also faltered, with no indication of a new release date.

The trademark submissions encompass a range of services related to the trading, exchange, payments, transfers, and wallets for crypto and “blockchain assets,” along with the corresponding hardware and software infrastructure. A Notice of Allowance (NOA) has been issued for each filing, indicating that the applications meet registration requirements. 

Meta is required to either submit a statement within six months affirming its intention to use the trademark or request a six-month extension to file the statement. Meta must respond to the first Notice of Allowance (NOA), sent on August 15, 2023, by February 15 at the earliest. 

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The most recent NOA, issued on January 16, gives Meta until July 16 to submit a response. Waters inquired about Meta’s plans for addressing the NOAs and sought information on its intentions regarding Web3, crypto, digital wallet projects, and the potential launch of a crypto payments platform.

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Additionally, she inquired about the depth of Meta’s exploration into stablecoins or collaborations with stablecoin projects, whether it is considering the adoption of distributed ledger technology (DLT), and how its technology could facilitate crypto-related functions within its metaverse.

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