Lawmakers in the United States have called for Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta Platforms Inc (NASDAQ: META) to reveal its cryptocurrency and blockchain plans. The US House Financial Services Committee is putting pressure on the tech giant to outline any such plans it may have considering that it has five crypto and blockchain-related trademark applications from 2022 with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) still active.
In a letter dated January 22 and addressed to Meta founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Javier Olivan, Committee Ranking Member Rep. Maxine Waters wrote:
“I write to express my concerns regarding Meta Platforms, Inc.’s […] filing status of five trademark applications related to various digital assets services and blockchain technology with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). 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.”
Meta, the parent company of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, has in the past explored the use of digital assets. The company shuttered its Diem (formerly Libra) stablecoin project in 2019 due to regulatory pressure. The project was later sold to the now-defunct Silvergate Bank. The firm’s planned release of a digital wallet called Novi (formerly Calibra) also appears to have been shelved.
Its five trademark filings cover blockchain and crypto-linked services such as digital asset trading, exchange, payments, and wallets. It also includes hardware and software infrastructure linked to the offering of such services. According to the letter, Meta has received Notices of Allowance (NOAs) for its filing, a sign that the applications are in line with registration requirements. The tech firm has six months to respond to the NOAs with either a statement saying that it intends to use the trademarks or a request an extension.
The first NOA was sent on August 15, 2023, giving Meta until February 15 to respond. The latest was sent on January 16, giving the company until July 16 to respond. The Congresswoman sought to find out how Meta intends to respond to NOAs among other things, especially in light of reports from both the company and its employees that it is not engaged in any research and development into “stablecoins or cryptocurrency”.
“The trademark applications described above seem to indicate that Meta has not ceased its activity in digital assets since the shutdown of Diem. Given the Committee’s ongoing concerns with financial stability and the prohibition of mixing banking and commerce, I request answers to the following questions: Does Meta intend to pursue any projects related to web3, digital assets, or digital wallets? […] Is Meta planning to launch a payments platform that supports cryptocurrency? How is Meta’s technology enabling the creation, mining, storage, transmission, or settlement of cryptocurrencies in its related platforms, including its Metaverse?” wrote she.
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