Thursday, 21 November, 2019

Mastercard, Visa, eBay and Stripe leave Facebook's Libra: What happens from here?

Current eBay, Visa, & More Withdraw Support From Facebook’s Libra Cryptocurrency
Russell Knight | 18 October, 2019, 05:26

Notable charter members include venture capital firm (and longtime Facebook investor) Andreessen Horowitz, Spotify AB, Vodafone, and Lyft, Inc.

Visa, Mastercard, Stripe, eBay, PayPal and Mercado Pago were the six firms that dropped out ahead of Monday's meeting.

In June, Facebook shared plans for Calibra, a newly-formed Facebook subsidiary, whose goal is to provide financial services that will let people access and participate in the Libra network. One of the main criticisms levied at the project from the cryptocurrency industry-proper is that if Libra is widely adopted, there will be far too much control in the hands of Facebook, a company itself with a questionable record of protecting its users' interests. Most recently, U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) called for a moratorium on the project until all regulatory questions could be cleared. The report, due to be presented to finance ministers at International Monetary Fund's annual meeting this week, did not single out Libra but referred to "global stablecoins" with the potential to "scale rapidly" as posing a range of potential problems.

Despite the endless list of regulatory concerns from all over the world and pressure from the United States government on big companies to withdraw support from the project altogether, Marcus appeared optimistic about the project's future.

"Facebook holds one out of five board seats and is only one of 21 founding members of the project".

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"If US regulators ultimately dismiss Libra and decide not to draft regulation to encourage crypto innovation in the US, China's CBDC may be strategically positioned to become the de facto global digital currency in emerging economies", RBC said in a note sent to clients on Tuesday. Of course, it's not great news in the short term, but in a way it's liberating. Stripe agreed that the project has "potential" and was still open to working with it in the future. eBay, similar to PayPal, has left to focus on its own projects. Change of this magnitude is hard. Analysts and industry leaders in cryptography are stressing China's geopolitical implications of first introducing a digital currency- especially as libra reaches a brick wall with U.S. regulators.

Martha Bennett, VP and principal analyst at Forrester, warned of the regulatory concerns and that responses from the Libra team were 'thin on detail in that regard'.

Bookings Holdings - which operates Priceline.com, Kayak.com, and other travel sites - just withdrew its membership from Facebook's so-called Libra Association.

Good news certainly appears to be in short supply right now - and it will keep going this way until Facebook can provide answers on the transparency and regulatory front.

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