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Facebook’s Libra has had a mixed reaction from both legislators and the public since it was first announced in June. But, as recently leaked recordings of internal Facebook meetings show, none of it has been any surprise to CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
The Verge today published an expanded transcript of two July meetings in which Zuckerberg and Facebook employees discussed a number of ongoing company concerns, including the company’s plans to defeat competitor TikTok, how employees should pitch Facebook to their associates who have a less-than-stellar opinion of the company, and, yes, its digital currency aspirations in Libra.
According to the transcripts, Zuckerberg told Facebook employees just weeks after Libra’s announcement that the path to the cryptocurrency’s eventual launch was not going to be an easy one: “This is going to be a long road. We kind of expected this. This is what big engagement looks like,” Zuckerberg reportedly said.
Zuckerberg refers to Libra as “big idea” in the transcripts, “a new kind of digital money that can work globally,” he said. Facebook’s leading man also said Libra was undergoing tests in India and Mexico, and hoped to release the digital currency for global use by the end of the year.
Nevertheless, Zuckerberg acknowledged Facebook’s need to take a more “consultative approach” with regulators and government agencies, being mindful of the various concerns these entities may have with regard to money laundering, terrorist funding and the like.
“There are a lot of requirements on knowing who your customers are [with digital currency],” Zuckerberg reportedly said. “We already focus a lot on real identity, especially across Facebook, so there’s even more that we need to do in order to have this kind of product, and we’re committed to doing that well.”
Other interesting tidbits from the transcript include the fact that Zuckerberg believed Libra would have “100 companies or more” join its association before its launch—a figure that could be well off the mark, given that some of the original 27 companies have since expressed their doubts about their inclusion.
Zuckerberg’s “end of the year” prediction for Libra’s launch similarly appears highly unlikely with only three months to go. Just last week, in fact, Zuckerberg updated his position on Libra’s timetable in an interview with Nikkei Asian Review, suggesting that even a 2020 launch could be in doubt.