A substantial number of backers of Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency project are said to be considering backing out due to growing pressure from regulators.
According to a report from the Financial Times, in particular three firms – which were not named – expressed concerns over being seen to be linked to the project after regulators and politicians around the world raised concerns over its potential threat to financial stability.
While Facebook’s Libra project was said to already have 28 founding partners when unveiled last month, that isn’t quite the case, according to Visa’s CEO and board chairman, Alfred F. Kelly, Jr. Therefore VISA is considered to be amongst the three who now seek withdrawal as an option. In a Q3 2019 earnings call, VISA CEO Kelly responded to a question on his firm’s involvement with the Libra project from Bryan C. Keane, an analyst at Deutsche Bank Securities.
Keane asked, “Just wanted to ask on Facebook’s Libra, there’s some confusion in the market on how to think about that. Is it a strategic partner for Visa or potential disruptive threat? Just curious your thoughts and level of expected Visa involvement in Facebook Libra.”
Playing down the firm’s involvement with Libra, Kelly responded that “it’s important to understand the facts.”. He continued:
Going forward, the decision to fully join Facebook’s cryptocurrency project would be decided by a “number of factors, including obviously the ability of the association to satisfy all the requisite regulatory requirements,”
As suggested, since its release of a Libra white paper in mid-June, Facebook has been defending itself from a storm of calls from regulators worldwide for more information on how the scheme would work, amid concerns over what affect it could have on financial stability and users’ privacy.
The EU was recently reported to have even moved to investigate the Libra Association over potential antitrust issues. Over in the U.S., lawmakers have called for Libra to be halted until regulatory issues have been addressed.
As a result, the firms are considering pulling out of the Libra project, the FT said.
Since its debut in mid-June, Libra is said to have been joined by 28 member firms who have paid up to $10 million to be part of the project. These include major firms such as Visa, Mastercard, Paypal and Uber. Visa’s CEO revealed last month that the firms had signed “nonbinding letter of intent to join Libra,” and were not yet fully committed to the enterprise.
“It’s going to be difficult for partners who want to be seen as in [regulatory] compliance” to be publicly supporting Libra, one of the companies told the FT. A Libra backer also said that Facebook should have addressed the regulatory issues before announcing the project to lessen the “pushback.”
The frustrations appear to be going both ways, with the sources saying that Facebook itself is unhappy that the Libra Association members aren’t voicing support for the project.
“Facebook is tired of being the only people putting their neck out,” said one of the members.
Facebook and the Libra Association would not comment when contacted by the FT.
Source: Financial Times, Cointelegraph & CryptoRobby