Last year, when Facebook officials were hauled in front of Congress to defend their plans for a cryptocurrency called Libra, they arrived with a pitch about financial inclusion. With Libra, people anywhere in the world would have access to a common payment network, they said, whether or not they had access to a bank. All it would take was a phone and a Facebook account.
Representative Rashida Tlaib, (D–Michigan) a member of the “squad” of progressive first-term lawmakers, had heard similar pitches before. Her Detroit district, the third-poorest in the country, is populated with the very unbanked people Facebook executives were describing. In the past, they had been promised faster tax returns, paycheck advances, or check cashing without a checking account. But these offerings came with little regulation, and often with excessive fees or interest rates. Now, here was Libra, a cryptocurrency that also seemed poised to fall through the