Facebook Inc.'s (FB) foray into a sort of pseudo-cryptocurrency is tempering its stock trajectory as the market recognizes the discomfort regulators have with its efforts.
Facebook shares in pre-market trading Friday extended mild losses incurred during Thursday's trading as they were pressured by a stream of jabs at Facebook's Libra digital currency from President Trump, who is fond of its key competitor in Twitter (TWTR) .
....Similarly, Facebook Libra's "virtual currency" will have little standing or dependability. If Facebook and other companies want to become a bank, they must seek a new Banking Charter and become subject to all Banking Regulations, just like other Banks, both National...— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 12, 2019
...and International. We have only one real currency in the USA, and it is stronger than ever, both dependable and reliable. It is by far the most dominant currency anywhere in the World, and it will always stay that way. It is called the United States Dollar!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 12, 2019
The president's antithetical outlook toward digital currencies echoes concerns from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, who on Thursday told lawmakers on Capitol Hill that the Libra launch is expected to be a major topic of discussion for G7 finance ministers and central bankers when they meet next month in France.
Also, in a rare point of agreement, Senate Finance Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters has been vocal in her opposition to Libra in unison with Trump.
"We write to request that Facebook and its partners immediately agree to a moratorium on any movement forward on Libra, its proposed cryptocurrency, and Calibra, its proposed digital wallet," Waters wrote in a letter to CEO Mark Zuckerberg, COO Sheryl Sandberg, and Calibra chief David Marcus. "It appears that these products may lend themselves to an entirely new global financial system that is based out of Switzerland and intended to rival U.S. monetary policy and the dollar. This raises serious privacy, trading, national security, and monetary policy concerns for not only Facebook's over 2 billion users, but also for investors, consumers, and the broader global economy."
Marcus, who was recruited to Facebook to spearhead its digital currency efforts after years among the top ranks at PayPal Holdings Inc. (PYPL) , responded to the concerns by noting that Facebook is not in total control of the system and that the system can actually prevent nefarious activity by tracking and securing payments.
Marcus added that Facebook, which is a holding of Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS charitable trust, is open to working with lawmakers, regulators, and Fed officials that have voiced concerns about moving forward with Libra.
"We believe in and are committed to a collaborative process with regulators, central banks, and lawmakers to ensure that Libra helps with the kinds of issues that the existing financial system has been fighting, notably around money laundering, terrorism financing, and more," Marcus wrote in a Facebook post. "We will - and more importantly, the Libra Association will - continue to engage proactively and openly with all relevant stakeholders on these key issues."
However, the problem for the payment platform moves beyond U.S. borders, as European regulators have been no less reticent to outline plans to reel in the program.
"My determination to make sure that Facebook's ... Libra project does not become a sovereign currency that could compete with the currency of states is ... absolute," French finance minster Bruno Le Maire said in the French Senate according to a CNBC translation. "I will never accept that corporations could become private states."
Le Maire's concerns voiced Thursday are his second salvo against the initiative, with his initial comments sounding the alarm on Facebook's ability to impact sovereign currencies coming shortly after the release of the company's white paper on Libra.
Members of the European Parliament have echoed the concern from finance officials, mirroring the action of their U.S. counterparts.
Even for those leaving the auspices of the European Union, there is not such a warm welcome.
Bank of England Governor Mark Carney, who also chairs the international Financial Stability Board, told reporters Thursday that Facebook would need to demonstrate that Libra is "rock solid" before it could launch in the United Kingdom.
"If you are a systemic payment system, you have to be on all the time. You can't have teething issues, you can't have people losing money out of their wallets," Carney said during a press event in London. "This is not learning on the job stuff, it's got to be rock solid right from the start or it's not going to start."
Interestingly, bitcoin BTC, which is more of a true cryptocurrency, has not seen its trend marred much by the scrutiny in its space, possibly suggesting the delineation between Facebook's idea of a "stablecoin" and the pure play that bitcoin represents.
For a full explainer of the Libra program and how it works, click here.