Things continue to look down for Facebook and its Libra cryptocurrency project. Faced with massive regulatory hurdles just after it was announced in the Summer of last year, there has not been much to get excited about for the potentially innovative cryptocurrency project.
Facebook first proposed its Libra project as a new financial system that would most likely permeate apps like Whatsapp, Instagram and Facebook and reach over 2 billion people. However, the notion of a private entity creating its own currency raised the hackles of a number of central banks and regulatory bodies.
The pressure exerted on Libra from these hurdles saw claims that the project may be dead in the water, or forced to push out its launch date – or even lessen its scope and effect. Then, after forming an Association with major names across a broad scope of industries, they started leaving. First, it was the financial players like Mastercard and Paypal, and then most recently, Vodafone has decided to jump ship.
A different focus
Vodafone outlined its reasons for leaving Libra, and echoed some of the other members on their exit. Undertones hint that the belief from the members is that Libra will not make an impact on changing the financial landscape as first believed.
Vodafone Group has decided to withdraw from the Libra Association,” a Vodafone spokesperson said. “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 and feel we can make the most contribution by focusing our efforts on [mobile payments platform] M-Pesa.”
Libra soldiers on
Libra has been forced to take the hits from their departing members and continue trying to launch their platform, but there really does not seem to be any good news to soften the blows.
Dante Disparte, head of policy and communications for the Libra Association, said: “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”.
Libra has pinned this year to be the one it launches in, and is aiming at Q2 which is fast approaching, Yet, the actual launch plans and processes do not seem to be formally set at all.
Speaking to Reuters, Patrick Ellis, one of the board members of the Switzerland-based Libra Association, has said there are very little concrete plans for launching the project.
“At this stage, there is no strategy set in stone for the markets or the product, or how it will actually get rolled out,” Ellis said.