Date: Fri, October 04, 2019
Source : businesstimes.com
Author : Business Times
PayPal Bails on Facebook-led Libra cryptocurrency dream - A democratized access to financial services for underserved population?
PAYPAL Holdings Inc bailed out on the Libra Association. It was an unexpected twist to Facebook Inc's attempts to create a digital currency.
"PayPal has made the decision to forgo further participation in the Libra Association at this time and to continue to focus on advancing our existing mission and business priorities as we strive to deliver access to financial services for underserved populations", as said in a statement last Friday.
Several of the founding members of the Facebook-led project have been hovering over and deciding if they should fully embrace the effort. They are concerned about maintaining positive rapport with regulators who have a lack of certainty on the initiative.
Worries that PayPal might exit the project intensified on Thursday when the company mysteriously wasn’t present at a meeting of Association members in Washington. However, all of the other original partners were present, according to people familiar with the situation who asked not to be identified at a private meet.
PayPal's decision to bail is an eyebrow raiser as the Facebook executive leading this initiative is David Marcus, former president of PayPal. Adding to that, Facebook's blockchain team also consists of many former PayPal employees.
The Libra Association, the group of companies assembled by Facebook to oversee the cryptocurrency, has 28 founding members. Right before Libra was unveiled, the companies signed non-binding letters of intent to explore joining the association.
Dante Disparte, head of policy and communications for the Libra Association, confirmed PayPal's decision, and said the first Libra Council meeting will take place on 14 October 2019.
Mr. Disparte also quoted that 1,500 "entities" have indicated "enthusiastic interest" in being part of the association. Some of those entities already have contracts in the works to join Libra and the members will have to wait until original partners sign the official charter later this month. "The type of change that will reconfigure the financial system to be tilted towards people, not the institutions serving them, will be hard”.
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