Vodafone has confirmed that it has exited the Libra Association, the Switzerland-based consortium established to independently govern Facebook’s Libra currency.
A number of high profile backers, including Paypal and Mastercard, have already pulled their support from the project amid regulatory scrutiny. Visa cited “regulatory expectations” as a reason for not wanting to be part of the association.
According to Vodafone, the decision to leave was made so that the company could instead devote its attention and the resources earmarked for Libra to its own digital payment service, M-Pesa. The company plans to expand this service beyond the six African nations it currently operates in.
“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.”
Regulators around the globe have raised concerns over how Libra will be governed and how it will comply with regulations related to money laundering and the finance of terrorism. Some feel it could pose a real risk to the global financial system.
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Last September, the French Economy and Finance Minister, Bruno Le Maire, said France would block the development of Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency in Europe because it threatens the “monetary sovereignty” of governments.
Mercado Pago, eBay, Stripe and Booking Holdings also withdrew from the controversial project, which is still backed by Uber and Lyft.
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”