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Visa, Mastercard, eBay, and Stripe withdraw support from Facebook’s Libra Cryptocurrency Project

Following in the footsteps of PayPal, eBay, Visa, Mastercard, and Stripe announced on Friday that they will no longer support Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency project. PayPal was the first company to exit from the social media giant’s ambitious project on October 4.

For those unaware, in June this year, Facebook had announced its own digital money (cryptocurrency) called ‘Libra’ with an aim to make sending money immediate, free and secure for billions of its users using its apps and social network. The Libra Association, the group working to launch Facebook’s proposed cryptocurrency was founded with 28 members including Facebook and 27 other partners, such as Visa, MasterCard, PayPal, Coinbase, and venture capital firms like Andreessen Horowitz and Union Square Ventures.

Following the withdrawal from the association, the companies released statements explaining that while they do respect the project, they were leaving it to focus on its own business ventures.

A Stripe spokesperson said in a statement that the company “is supportive of projects that aim to make online commerce more accessible for people around the world,” the spokesperson said. “Libra has this potential. We will follow its progress closely and remain open to working with the Libra Association at a later stage.”

On the other hand, a Visa spokesperson said the company “has decided not to join the Libra Association at this time. We will continue to evaluate and our ultimate decision will be determined by a number of factors, including the Association’s ability to fully satisfy all requisite regulatory expectations. Visa’s continued interest in Libra stems from our belief that well-regulated blockchain-based networks could extend the value of secure digital payments to a greater number of people and places, particularly in emerging and developing markets.”

“We highly respect the vision of the Libra Association,” eBay said in a statement. “However, eBay has made the decision to not move forward as a founding member. At this time, we are focused on rolling out eBay’s managed payments experience for our customers.”

Mastercard has yet to offer any comment regarding the news.

Responding to the news, Libra Association Policy Chief Dante Disparte thanked the onboard companies for their continuing support towards the project.

“We are focused on moving forward and continuing to build a strong association of some of the world’s leading enterprises, social impact organizations and other stakeholders. We look forward to the inaugural Libra Association Council meeting in just 3 days and announcing the initial members of the Libra Association,” Disparte said.

David Marcus, leader of the Libra project and ex-president of PayPal, tweeted that the exit of six partners would not disrupt the work.

“I would caution against reading the fate of Libra into this update. Of course, it’s not great news in the short term, but in a way, it’s liberating. Stay tuned for more very soon,” he wrote. “Change of this magnitude is hard. You know you’re on to something when so much pressure builds up.”

The first official meeting of the Libra Council is scheduled for October 14th in Geneva, Switzerland. With regulatory and political pressure on Facebook’s Libra project, it remains to be seen whether the existing companies are convinced enough to not withdraw their support from the project in the future.

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