FTC Commissioner: Libra Should Motivate Fed to Pursue Real-Time Payments

  • FTC Commissioner Rohit Chopra supports the Fed creating a real-time payment system in light of Facebook's digital currency libra.
  • Chopra says the market demand for rapidly settled payments will continue to grow even if libra ultimately fails to gain approval.

Federal Trade Commission (FTC) commissioner Rohit Chopra promoted the value of libra for its use in real-time payments, even if the stablecoin fails to overcome regulatory hurdles. 

In a letter to the U.S. Federal Reserve, Chopra advocated for the development of a “FedNow Service,” which would provide the potential for high-speed, real-time payments. Chopra highlighted Facebook’s digital currency libra as being motivation for the Fed to consider the creation of an innovative currency, particularly one that could speed up payments. 

He said, 

Regardless of Libra’s ultimate fate, the proposal’s emergence underscores the appetite for real-time payments and the urgency of intervention by the Federal Reserve.

While Chopra lauded libra for its use in real-time payments, the FTC commissioner ultimately sided against the digital currency given Facebook’s spotty track record, 

The vague and scant details on the tech platform’s proposed shadow global central bank have sounded international alarm bells, particularly in light of Facebook’s ongoing scandals and reputation for abuse.

He continued, adding that the "laundry list of risks raised by the Libra project will take time to unpack and address. I share the serious concerns raised by Chairman Jerome Powell and Governor Lael Brainard."

Chopra expressed frustration on behalf of the market over large bank fees, noting that the demand for real-time payments will continue to grow in the coming years. 

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