Congresswoman Maxine Waters Questions Meta’s Ongoing Crypto Efforts

A letter sent to the tech giant said it still has five active patents related to cryptocurrencies, despite the firm saying that it has no digital assets-related works ongoing.

AccessTimeIconJan 22, 2024 at 10:46 p.m. UTC
Updated Mar 8, 2024 at 8:19 p.m. UTC

Meta’s (formerly Facebook) continued efforts in the digital assets industries are being called out by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.).

The congresswoman said in a letter sent Monday to CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Chief Operating Officer Javier Olivan that she is concerned about Meta’s ongoing efforts to expand its footprint into the cryptocurrency industry as it currently has five active trademark applications with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

“I write to express my concerns regarding Meta Platforms, Inc.’s (f/k/a Facebook, Inc.) filing status of five trademark applications related to various digital assets services and blockchain technology with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO),” the letter said. “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.”

The letter points out five patents by Meta that include several applications related to the digital assets sector, including social media networking, dating services, trading and validating of cryptocurrencies, among others.

The letter pointed out that despite these five applications still being active, Meta told the Financial Services Committee on Oct. 12 that the company has no digital assets-related works ongoing at the company.

This isn’t the first time Waters has raised concerns about Big Tech companies jumping into the digital assets sector. Last year, she questioned PayPal about its own stablecoin, citing that “there is still no federal framework for regulation, oversight, and enforcement of these assets [stablecoins].”

Meta previously attempted to launch its own digital currency project in 2019, which was later named Diem. The project eventually was shut down and sold to now-defunct Silvergate Bank in 2022, after facing backlash from Washington and regulators worldwide due to Meta’s access to billions of users' personal data.

Former employees of the Diem project went on to build their own digital assets, including Aptos and Sui.


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Aoyon Ashraf

Aoyon Ashraf is managing editor with more than a decade of experience in covering equity markets

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