Since first being announced in June, Facebook’s proposed Libra cryptocurrency has drawn the ire of lawmakers and regulators worldwide.
But, according to sources close the Libra Association, that was to be expected.
“We always knew this was something that was going to be hard,” one such source told CoinDesk.
However, some of the project’s founding 28 members – which include Visa, PayPal, Uber and other tech and payments giants – haven’t remained as steadfast in their commitment, according to recent media reports.
The Financial Times reported last week that two unnamed members of the Libra Association were considering pulling out of the project, citing the harsh glare of the “regulatory spotlight.”
Follow-up reporting by CoinDesk, however, has found that the Libra Association’s crypto contingent – Coinbase, Xapo, Anchorage and Bison Trails – remains publicly optimistic about the project.
Libra’s crypto-native members seem ready to ride this one out.
Both Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) and Union Square Ventures – the two venture capital firms in the Libra Association most closely associated with blockchain investing – confirmed to CoinDesk that they remain committed to the project.
The CEOs of alternative banking company Xapo and blockchain infrastructure startup Bison Trails both confirmed that they are Libra members with no intention of leaving.
A spokesperson for custody startup Anchorage wrote to CoinDesk:
“The team believes in the mission of Libra and is proud to be a Founding Member of the Libra Association. They are confident that the Association and its members will work through regulatory concerns and look forward to continued conversations with policymakers.”
The only company in the crypto space to give CoinDesk anything short of a categorically affirmative answer was Coinbase.
A spokesperson wrote: “We remain a member, as announced in June.” (Coinbase declined to further clarify its commitment.)
While some companies may be considering leaving, a source close to the Libra Association told CoinDesk that many more have expressed interest in joining, despite the regulatory uncertainty.
Members pay at least $10 million to join, getting in return a Libra investment token that entitles them to a share of the interest generated by the massive pool of fiat currencies and low-risk assets that back the blockchain’s stablecoin.
A source with knowledge of the matter said Facebook and other Libra Association members are currently working toward ratifying the non-profit’s charter.
Most of the narrative surrounding Libra so far has been driven by intense government scrutiny. The effort’s initial helmsman, David Marcus, was grilled by Congress – twice. European Union regulators are reportedly investigating “anti-competitive behavior” related to the project. Tech giant Huawei has reportedly urged Chinese authorities to create a rival.
Meanwhile, a report from Bloomberg Law suggests the Libra Association may begin a new phase of public messaging. According to the report, an Aug. 26 email from the association’s managing partner, Bertrand Perez, was clear:
“It’s time for us to speak up individually and collectively and build some momentum coming into the end of 2019.”
Zack Seward contributed reporting.
Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures and Brian Armstrong of Coinbase speak at Consensus 2019 (photo via CoinDesk archives)