Facebook’s stablecoin project continues to lose support. The Libra was initially meant to solve all the world’s financial problems, but Facebook had aspirations higher than its reach and the plan has met a serious amount of resistance. As a result, the Libra Association (LA), the group of “decentralized” entities that would lead Libra’s development, has lost some support, with companies like PayPal, eBay, Visa, MasterCard and others bowing out before the organization got off the ground. One more company has joined the ranks of those leaving the project, and telecom giant Vodafone has announced that it is dropping out.
Both the UK-based company and LA confirmed the exit in a statement released yesterday. Dante Disparte, the head of policy and communications for LA, explained, “Vodafone is no longer a member of the Libra Association. Although the makeup of the Association members may change over time, the design of Libra’s governance and technology ensures the Libra payment system will remain resilient. The Association is continuing the work to achieve a safe, transparent, and consumer-friendly implementation of the Libra payment system.”
Vodafone has decided to remove itself because it wants to work on its own payments service, M-Pesa, which it made available in six African countries. It believes that it has better chances of expanding M-Pesa to other jurisdictions around the world, but is willing to keep its eye on Libra to see how things develop. A company spokesperson stated, “We have said from the outset that Vodafone’s desire is to make a genuine contribution to extending financial inclusion. We remain fully committed to that goal.” He added, “We will continue to monitor the development of the Libra Association and do not rule out the possibility of future co-operation.”
The group was initially going to have 28 members, but is now down to 20. However, Facebook and LA don’t seem to be too concerned, as there are allegedly more than 1,500 companies interested in joining. Why they haven’t stepped up yet, with so many vacancies, is anyone’s guess.
It could be because LA wants each entity to hand over $10 million as a founding member. It isn’t clear if any of the entities that remain in the organization have paid the fee, but previous reports indicated that no money had changed hands.
So far, no financial regulators have been willing to accept Libra’s plans, with some, such as US Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, saying that the project raises “serious concerns regarding privacy, money laundering, consumer protection and financial stability.” However, it continues to try to push through the mud in an attempt to, one day, officially launch.
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