Another major partner has left the Libra project in the dust. This time, the one making a grand exit is Vodafone, an international prepaid phone carrier.
Libra Is Still Suffering
Libra has had a very rough history. First introduced to users in June of 2019, the project has seen its fair shares of ups and downs (more downs, at this stage) and has been the subject of widespread criticism from international leaders and U.S. regulators alike.
The company has also lost several big-name supporters since it first came about like PayPal, which is particularly embarrassing considering the head of Libra – David Marcus – originally came from PayPal. Other companies to give Libra the old heave-ho include credit card enterprises Mastercard and Visa.
Many of the businesses to say “no” to Libra down the line cite regulatory concerns, and to be fair, Libra is not really helping itself. The project – which people have been aware of for more than six months – still isn’t putting any specific details out regarding its plans, and not much is really known about it. For an alleged stable coin that’s going to make global finance much easier, you’d think there would be a few more details available to us by now.
Dante Disparte – head of communications for the project – explained in a statement:
We can confirm Vodafone is no longer a member of the Libra Association… Although the makeup of the association members may change over time, the design of Libra’s governance and technology ensures the Libra system will remain resilient… The association is continuing the work to achieve a safe, transparent and consumer-friendly implementation of the Libra payment system.
The system of governance that the Libra Association wishes to invoke is democratic in the sense that several parties will be responsible for decision-making processes, though it is also quite centralized in that these and only these parties will be in control. This goes against the very notion of cryptocurrency, which is designed to help everyday users take over their own finances and remain independent from outside influencers.
Vodafone released a statement regarding its exit from the organization, explaining:
Vodafone Group has decided to withdraw from the Libra Association. We have said from the outset that Vodafone’s desire is to make a genuine contribution to extending financial inclusion. We remain fully committed to that goal and feel we can make the most contribution by focusing our efforts on [payment service] M-Pesa.
Nobody Trusts the Project
Many regulators are wary of Libra and ready to disallow it from entering the financial space given the privacy issues Facebook has dealt with in the past. Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown explained last year:
We’d be crazy to give them a chance to let them experiment with people’s bank accounts.