Facebook’s digital currency could trigger new D.C. battles

Facebook’s impending move to offer a digital currency will create a new regulatory minefield for a company whose privacy practices have already provoked attacks from lawmakers in the U.S. and Europe.

The closely guarded yet much-discussed cryptocurrency initiative, code-named “Project Libra,” could become a major e-commerce tool for Facebook users across the social network’s suite of services, from Instagram to messaging.

But as with other cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, the new Facebook coin could become a tool for money launderers and terrorist financiers, a risk that has drawn the attention of lawmakers and regulators.The project is expected to be unveiled on Tuesday, where more details will be released.

A Facebook equivalent of Bitcoin could allow users to buy products from popular Instagram influencers more quickly and easily than with cash — while remaining within the company’s social media domain. And importantly for Facebook shareholders, the company could make money off a fee for every processed transaction.

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