PayPal bails on Facebook-led Libra cryptocurrency dream

PayPal was one of the original 28 members of the Libra Association

PayPal was one of the original 28 members of the Libra Association Credit AFP

The Libra Association initially had 28 founding members, but on October 4, it lost one of them, with PayPal announcing its departure from the group.

PayPal's announcement followed a new report earlier last week that partners in Facebook's cryptocurrency-based payments network were wavering in their support amid a backlash from USA and European officials. "Facebook has been a longstanding and valued strategic partner to PayPal, and we will continue to partner with and support Facebook in various capacities", the statement read. Although there has been no official announcement from any other member, these payment companies are said to be uneasy about being on the wrong side of the law and would do anything to avoid authorities breathing down their necks.

According to sources, the company that originally agreed to participate in the development of crypto-currencies, reconsider due to criticism of the project by the governments of the U.S. and Europe.

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This afternoon, has confirmed that PayPal has decided not to participate in Facebook's stablecoin project after skipping out on the October 3 meeting of the Libra Association. The head of the Libra Association said last week that the project's leaders aimed to "reassure" regulators anxious about the virtual money.

"No. I really think that a currency should stay in the hands of countries".

The Libra Association, based in Switzerland, was supposed to give the currency project a comfortable arm's length distance from Facebook, which wouldn't own Libra. Facebook is also building a digital wallet, called Calibra, to store the currency.

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Libra, which is scheduled to launch in 2020, has faced regulatory scrutiny from lawmakers around the globe concerned it could be abused for money laundering and other illegal activities. In response, Facebook has reportedly hired several prominent Washington lobbyists to convince politicians to give their approval to Libra.

PayPal's withdrawal came after the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that other Libra members including Visa and Mastercard were also reconsidering their commitment to the group.

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