- David Marcus, the head of Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency project, has defended the project’s feasibility after multiple major backers cut ties.
- Speaking to Yahoo Finance, Marcus said Libra was “absolutely not” in jeopardy, adding that the project is “going to get harder before it gets easier.”
- On Monday, the 21 partner companies involved in Libra formally established the charter and governing council for the Libra Association.
- A quarter of the project’s 28 founding backers have now abandoned the project, including major payment processing firms like PayPal, Visa, and Mastercard.
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Facebook is on the defensive after a swathe of major firms abandoned the Libra cryptocurrency project in the past week.
In an interview with Yahoo Finance, Facebook’s Libra head David Marcus defended the feasibility of the project, insisting that Libra was “absolutely not” in jeopardy, while admitting that the project is “going to get harder before it gets easier.”
And he told Bloomberg that he “totally respects the fact that those businesses and those leaders have a responsibility to their shareholders, employers and stakeholders.” He said the project is “going to move forward,” and reaffirmed the plan that the Libra Association — the group of firms interested in developing the Libra cryptocurrency — will eventually have 100 members.
Marcus’s comments come at a critical juncture for the Libra project. Seven of the Association’s twenty-eight founding members have now abandoned it, including big hitters like PayPal, Visa, Mastercard, eBay, and Stripe. Latin American online payments platform Mercado Pago and US online travel firm Booking Holdings have also cut ties.
The Association’s 21 remaining members include Facebook, Spotify, Uber and Lyft. On Monday, those firms agreed upon the association’s charter and its leadership council, formally establishing the Libra Association. That 21-member council also appointed a five-person board of directors, which includes Marcus.
As well as losing key backers, the Libra project has faced increased regulatory scrutiny in recent weeks. On Monday, Libra’s newly appointed deputy chairman Dante Disparte told The Financial Times that regulatory barriers would likely delay the cryptocurrency’s proposed 2020 launch.
US President Donald Trump has said Libra “will have little standing or dependability,” while Democratic Congressperson Rashida Tlaib reportedly asked if Facebook was trying to create a “crypto mafia” by setting up the Libra Association.
Marcus has previously been outspoken in his defence of the project. In a tweet on Friday about the exits of Mastercard and others, he wrote: “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. Change of this magnitude is hard. You know you’re on to something when so much pressure builds up.”