GENEVA ? Twenty-one organizations have signed the Libra Association charter,
days after a slew of high-profile defections from the cryptocurrency project
started by Facebook.
The Libra Association also named its board of directors and formalized the
consortium?s executive team following a meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.
Facebook [https://www.coindesk.com/tag/facebook]still remains a key player in
the project with Calibra CEO and former Facebook blockchain lead David Marcus
taking a seat on the five-person board. Other board members include Katie Haun,
a general partner with Andreessen Horowitz; Wences Cesares, CEO of Xapo; Patrick
Ellis, general counsel at PayU; and Matthew Davie, chief strategy officer of
Bertrand Perez, Dante Disparte and Kurt Hemecker will take leadership roles in
the association?s executive team. Hemecker, Perez and Marcus are all PayPal
In addition toCalibra [https://www.coindesk.com/tag/calibra], the association
consists of Coinbase, Xapo, Anchorage, Bison Trails, Creative Destruction Lab,
Andreessen Horowitz, Thrive Capital, Ribbit Capital, Union Square Ventures,
Breakthrough Initiatives, Illiad, Vodafone, Farfetch, Uber, Lyft, Kiva, Mercy
Corps, Women?s World Banking, Spotify and PayU, according to a press release. No
previously unknown members were listed.
The announcement comes following a number of major departures. When the Libra
Association debuted in June, Facebook touted a roster of 28 major firms.
However, Visa, Mastercard, PayPal, Booking Holdings, eBay, Stripe and Mercado
Pago, announced their withdrawals from Libra over the past week, with some
citing concerns over the regulatory backlash faced by the project.
Still, the Libra Association said Monday that more than 1,500 entities have
expressed interest in joining the project, with 180 meeting the organization?s
membership criteria. A two-thirds vote by the 21 board members is required to
actually add any new members.
In June, Facebook said a consortium of 100 companies would back the
cryptocurrency project at launch. No update was shared Monday regarding those
plans or the current target launch date.
Facebook announced this summera bold vision for a cryptocurrency that could be
used by unbanked individuals worldwide
As initially envisioned, the token?s governance will be overseen by the Libra
Association, a consortium of 100 companies who will vote on technical decisions
for the cryptocurrency using the Libra Investment Token, which would double as a
security allowing holders toearn any interest
[https://www.coindesk.com/this-ethereum-lottery-perfectly-explains-how-facebooks-corporate-backers-will-profit-from-libra] accrued from the basket.
The stablecoin was designed to be backed by a basket of fiat currencies,later
[https://www.coindesk.com/facebook-reveals-libra-cryptos-currency-basket-breakdown-report] to be comprised of the U.S. dollar (50 percent), the euro (18 percent), the yen
(14 percent), the British pound (11 percent) and the Singapore dollar (7
Financial regulators and policymakers around the world immediately announced
their opposition to the project, citing fears that Libra could destabilize the
global monetary order. Ministers inFrance
[https://www.coindesk.com/german-finance-minister-supports-digital-euro-but-very-critical-of-libra] said they were against Libra, India announced that Libramay not even be legal
U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.)called for a moratorium on the project
[https://www.coindesk.com/lawmakers-amp-up-pressure-on-facebook-to-halt-libra-cryptocurrency-development] until all regulatory questions could be cleared.
However, Calibra?s Marcus has maintained that these fears are misplaced. He
testified before the U.S. Congress
[https://www.coindesk.com/facebook-prepares-to-defend-libra-crypto-before-us-lawmakers-this-week] in July, trying to assuage the concerns of both the Senate Banking Committee and
the House Financial Services Committee. (Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerbergwill head
to Capitol Hill
[https://www.coindesk.com/facebook-ceo-mark-zuckerberg-to-testify-before-congress-over-libra-cryptocurrency] next week for the same purpose.)
More recently, Marcuswrote in a letter
[https://www.coindesk.com/facebooks-david-marcus-responds-to-critics-over-libra-threat] that Libra would welcome regulatory oversight, and that the project was not
looking to replace the dollar.
This has not stopped a raft of questions regarding Facebook?s intentions or
Libra?s potential ramifications. Prior to their announced departures from the
Libra Association, the CEOs of Visa, Mastercard and Stripe were contacted by
U.S. Senators Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), who wrote that
the companiescould come under increased regulatory scrutiny
[https://www.coindesk.com/us-lawmakers-call-on-payment-giants-to-exit-chilling-libra-project] should they continue their participation in the project.
It is unclear when Libra will actually launch.
While Facebook initially targeted an early 2020 launch date, recent statements
by Zuckerberg have put this timeline into doubt. However, it appears that any
delay to the launch will be a result of its regulatory issues, rather than
Zuckerberg said during a quarterly earnings call in July that the company would
take ?however long
[https://www.coindesk.com/however-long-it-takes-zuckerberg-vows-to-win-over-regulators-on-libra] ? it needs to convince regulators not to interfere with Libra. In September he
alluded to the possibility that the projectcould take years
[https://www.coindesk.com/facebooks-zuckerberg-appears-to-put-libra-launch-date-in-doubt] to launch.
From a technical perspective, Facebook has been secretive about what has been
built so far. Since June, the team has not publicly stated what progress or
drawbacks it has seen, despiteopen-sourcing
[https://www.coindesk.com/facebooks-libra-crypto-code-draws-critiques-and-clones] some of Libra?s codebase.
It also remains unclear whether the team building Libra consists solely of
Calibra employees, or whether individuals from other members of the association
have joined in the effort.
What is known is that Facebookset up a team in Geneva, Switzerland
[https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/facebook-s-cryptocurrency-gets-a-warm-welcome-in-geneva/45053980] , andpreviously listed blockchain-related positions
[https://www.cnbc.com/2019/06/06/facebook-cryptocurrency-project-executive-leaders.html] in Menlo Park, California and Tel Aviv, Israel.