Meta Crypto Exit in 2022 Raises Questions Amid Ongoing Patent Filings

Meta Crypto Exit in 2022 Raises Questions Amid Ongoing Patent Filings

3 min read

Meta, formerly known as Facebook, has found itself under scrutiny once again for its recent flurry of patent applications related to cryptocurrency and blockchain. Despite publicly distancing itself from the crypto sphere in 2022, the tech giant’s persistent interest in securing patents has raised eyebrows and prompted questions about the company’s true intentions regarding a Meta crypto.

Undisclosed Meta Crypto Plans?

The intrigue intensified when the Patent and Trademark Office recently approved one of Meta’s digital currency software proposals, triggering concerns that the company may be harbouring undisclosed plans within the ever-evolving digital assets ecosystem.

Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) wasted no time addressing this apparent contradiction, firing off a letter to Meta’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, and COO, Javier Olivan, seeking clarity on the company’s strategic shift. She stated in the letter…

“With its initial filings on March 18, 2022, Meta’s application submissions as of January 22 appear to represent a continued intention to expand the company’s involvement in the digital assets ecosystem.”

Waters, a prominent figure in the House Committee on Financial Services, expressed scepticism in her letter, highlighting the incongruity between Meta’s patent filings and previous communications with the Democratic Financial Services committee. According to her, Meta representatives had categorically stated that the company had no ongoing developments related to digital assets or blockchain technology. The congresswoman’s missive underscores the need for transparency and accountability in Meta’s dealings.

Meta: Concerns About Growing Influence

This clash isn’t the first between Waters and Meta. Dating back to June 2019, tensions flared when Meta announced its ambitious plans to create a Stablecoin named Libra and a corresponding wallet service called Calibra. Waters raised concerns about the potential expansion of Facebook’s influence into users’ lives and the lack of a regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies. Undeterred, Meta rebranded the project as Diem, establishing the Diem Association in Switzerland to oversee its operations.

The journey of Diem, however, faced numerous hurdles. Waters continued her oversight, holding congressional hearings and even travelling to Switzerland to engage with government officials.

Potential Anti-Competitive Effects and Market Concentration

In November 2021, a joint report from the President’s Working Group on Financial Markets, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency highlighted concerns about the concentration of power in a company producing both a Stablecoin and its associated wallet.

The report expressed worries about potential anti-competitive effects and market concentration in critical sectors of the economy…

“This combination could have detrimental effects on competition and lead to market concentration in sectors of the real economy. A stablecoin that becomes widely adopted as a means of payment could present concerns about anti-competitive effects.”

Diem Association’s attempt to navigate regulatory complexities persisted for over two years, but approximately three months after the report’s release, the organisation folded. All assets and intellectual property were subsequently acquired by Silvergate, a California-based bank specialising in crypto-related services.

Stuart Levey, Diem’s CEO, attributed the project’s demise to mixed messages from regulators. Despite receiving positive feedback on the network’s design, Levey asserted that ongoing dialogue with federal regulators made it clear the project could not move forward.

Meta Crypto: Too Good to Miss Out On?

Now, as Meta once again grapples with questions surrounding its crypto pursuits, industry observers are keenly watching for any signs of a renewed strategy or a potential shift in the company’s stance. The clash of interests between regulatory scrutiny, technological innovation, and corporate ambitions creates a complex landscape, leaving stakeholders to ponder Meta’s true motives in the enigmatic world of cryptocurrency. Are Meta’s patent filings mere remnants of past ambitions or indicators of a bold new direction in the ever-evolving digital frontier?


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