By Daniel J. McLaughlin
As the launch of Facebook's new cryptocurrency grows nearer, the scrutiny around Libra is intensifying.
The company will be facing two congressional hearings about the cryptocurrency in the United States this week.
High-profile individuals and institutions have already expressed their concern about Libra.
However, there is excitement on Wall Street about the cryptocurrency and Facebook's future.
Bloomberg's Olga Kharif explains why "almost everybody hates Facebook's cryptocurrency, Libra".
She says that people are upset about plenty of things, from the sheer size of Facebook to the other troubles it has faced recently.
The company was fined a record $5 billion by the US Federal Trade Commission after the Cambridge Analytica data scandal.
Members of the US Congress from both parties have expressed their concerns about Facebook's security and practices. The company faces a grilling in House and Senate panels this week.
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin described Libra as "a national security issue" with worries over money laundering and other illicit activities.
The Federal Reserve has "serious concerns" about Libra, as do the European Central Bank, the Bank of England, and France's finance minister.
However, Wall Street appears to be excited by the prospect. CNBC reports that analysts love Facebook's cryptocurrency, calling it a "watershed moment".
They note: "Most analysts believe the crypto project will give the company a major boost and continue pushing Facebook to further greatness."
RBC has likened it to Apple's introduction of iOS to developers over a decade ago, in terms of scale and importance.
J.P. Morgan analyst Doug Anmuth predicts that Libra could "empower billions globally".
He said: "We came into 2019 with the view that mega-cap internets, and Facebook in particular, would need to increasingly diversify their businesses and revenue streams.
"We believe Libra can accelerate that diversification for Facebook as it creates engagement beyond social and communications, and facilitates commerce across the platform."
Facebook Libra will be what is known as a 'stable coin'. One of the biggest problems that cryptocurrencies face is their volatility.
For instance, Bitcoin dropped from nearly $20,000 to $6,000 in four months, while the price of the most popular stable coin, Tether, has varied only by a few cents.
Stable coins peg their value to an asset with lower volatility, such as the US dollar or euro. They are seen as a bridge between cryptocurrencies and traditional finance.
Like other cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, it will be based on blockchain technology, which Facebook is still building. It will be used to transfer money between users on Facebook's messaging platforms.
It is also developing a virtual wallet called Calibra, where users can store coins - and it will be the app that people can use to transfer money. Unlike Bitcoin, you will not be able to mine Libra; you will have to buy it.
Facebook's Libra is expected to launch in the first half of 2020.