Facebook Libra faces collapse as Visa and Mastercard ‘shed doubts’ on cryptocurrency

Head of crypto project David Marcus says he is unaware of any companies planning to 'not step up'

Anthony Cuthbertson
Wednesday 02 October 2019 15:33 BST
Facebook hopes to launch its Libra cryptocurrency in 2020, but is facing significant resistance from regulators around the world
Facebook hopes to launch its Libra cryptocurrency in 2020, but is facing significant resistance from regulators around the world

Facebook’s plan to launch its own cryptocurrency next year is under threat after key partners shed doubt on the project.

Mastercard, Visa, PayPal and Stripe are reconsidering their involvement with the Libra cryptocurrency, according to various reports, due to the significant regulatory scrutiny it has attracted from around the world.

Since first announcing the Libra cryptocurrency earlier this year alongside a collective of billion-dollar corporations, politicians in the US and Europe have questioned the technology giant's motives.

Last month, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire claimed Libra posed a threat to "monetary sovereignty", while MPs in the UK said Facebook was attempting to "turn itself into its own country".

Both Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal cited sources close to the matter when reporting the latest concerns, but Facebook's David Marcus said he was unaware of any issues.

Mr Marcus, who heads up Libra's development, wrote on Twitter that he had no knowledge of any specific organisations planning to "not step up".

He added: "I can tell you that we're very calmly, and confidently working through the legitimate concerns that Libra has raised by bringing conversations about the value of digital currencies to the forefront."

Executives representing the companies involved with the Libra Association are expected to meet on Thursday to discuss the project.

In leaked audio from a recent Facebook meeting, CEO Mark Zuckerberg responded to concerns about resistance from regulators about the rollout of Libra.

He claimed that progress was being made away from public scrutiny and that what was being reported in the media made things appear worse than they actually are.

“The public things, I think, tend to be a little more dramatic. But a bigger part of it is private engagement with regulators around the world, and those, I think, often, are more substantive and less dramatic,” he said.

“And those meetings aren’t being played for the camera, but that’s where a lot of the discussions and details get hashed out on things.”

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