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British Giant Vodafone Leave Facebook’s Libra

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Facebook announced in June 2019 that it would launch the digital currency in partnership with other members of Libra Association, but the project quickly ran into trouble with sceptical regulators around the world.

In the latter part of 2019, a number of mainstream giants including Paypal and Mastercard decided to leave the Association. British telecom conglomerate Vodafone has become the eighth company to pull out of the Libra Association, the governing council. 

Vodafone and Libra both confirmed Tuesday the company is no longer part of the Association. Vodafone will shift resources that were previously intended for Libra to M-Pesa, the company’s digital payment service that is already serving six African nations.

The telecom has long run its own digital currency in Africa through M-Pesa, a mobile platform-based transfer service. M-Pesa already offers the ability to accept a number of different currencies for remittances.  It is possible the platform will accept stablecoins in the future.

The parting appears to be amicable, with Vodafone leaving specifically to focus on its own related service and not due to the regulatory concerns that apparently spooked other former members.

While Libra originally intended to launch in the first half of 2020, this timeline was thrown into doubt last year when Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said regulatory concerns delay its progress.

The Libra Association was originally made up of 28 corporate backers meant to help govern libra the libra currency. Each founding member were expected to invest a minimum of $10 million to fund its operating costs to drive adoption, according to Facebook’s initial announcement of the project.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said in July 2019 that libra raises “serious concerns regarding privacy, money laundering, consumer protection, financial stability” and the Fed had launched a working group to examine it.

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