Social media giant Facebook hired a UK bank lobbyist right before the launch of its stablecoin. The company expects greater regulatory scrutiny over the Cryptocurrency’s launch in Europe.
Standard Chartered executive now works for Facebook
Ed Bowles works as the European head of corporate and public affairs for Standard Chartered. He will join Facebook in September to become the London-based director of public policy. He has spent 12 years of navigation public policy and government affairs at Standard Chartered, which will be crucial for Facebook as the platform tries to launch its global digital currency next week.
Mark Zuckerberg, the co-founder, and CEO of Facebook met Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England in April this year to discuss the future of finance. The two also talked about the launch of Facebook’s new payments network and the use of digital currency.
With this new project, users will be allowed to send each other money and make payments across the Facebook apps ecosystem, i.e., Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram. Though the company has managed to keep the project under wraps, sources have suggested that its cryptocurrency will be a stablecoin and will be announced next Tuesday.
Bowles is the second executive from the UK to join Facebook. In January, the firm also hired former UK deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg to run the global affairs and communication team of the company. Nick’s hiring was seen as the company’s attempt to get close to Brussels since he was a member of the European Parliament as well as a trade negotiator for the European Commission. Bowles too had a career in civil service as he worked at the UK Ministry of Justice. He was also a barrister.
Facebook’s regulatory maze
The social media company is in early talks with the US derivatives regulator about its digital currency and payments systems. The regulators are worried if the company will be able to stick to strict regulatory guidelines for money transfer business, like anti-money laundering (AML) and know-your-customer (KYC). Facebook will have to comply with all rules imposed on financial institutions. The concerns also grow because the company was hit by several privacy scandals in recent years.
The company’s talks with top European regulators are still in jeopardy. European Commission’s director-general for financial stability, Olivier Guersent clarified last week that he was unaware of any meetings between Facebook and European regulators. He said that Facebook can launch itself like any other company on the market. However, just like the US regulators, he also expressed concerns about data collection and other activities of the platform.