'Members' of OpenLibra Disavow Project Days After Its Devcon Unveiling

The creator of an "open" alternative to Facebook's Libra stablecoin misrepresented which parties are involved in the project, CoinDesk has learned.

AccessTimeIconOct 11, 2019 at 2:19 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 11:34 a.m. UTC

The creator of an “open” alternative to Facebook’s Libra stablecoin initially misrepresented which organizations are involved in the project, CoinDesk has learned.

Four individuals and organizations have disavowed the OpenLibra project, which was unveiled Oct. 9 at Devcon. Others say the extent of their involvement was overblown.

“I showed up to one community call for OpenLibra. I didn’t really do anything after that,” said Sunny Aggarwal, a core developer at blockchain startup Tendermint Inc.

He added:

“I wasn’t asked before my name was used on the slides.”

Outside of Aggarwal, representatives from Chainlink, Web3 Foundation and Hashed have told CoinDesk their names were used without their permission on the OpenLibra slide deck presented at Devcon. The OpenLibra project aims to ensure that access to the Libra stablecoin and its technology remains free from corporate control.

In the case of Web3 Foundation and Hashed, the companies say their names were mistakenly associated with those of employees who no longer work there.

“We’re not opposed to OpenLibra. We’re just not a part of it,” said Zeke Turner, the Web3 Foundation’s head of communications.

Lucas Geiger, the founder of the OpenLibra project, has since apologized for the oversight.

In a Telegram message to Chainlink CEO Sergey Nazorov and this reporter, Geiger said:

“We’ve been in a rush preparing materials, and my team took a list I had of partners and potential partners and put it on the site. It’s removed now. Apologies for the trouble that [this has] caused. I should have reviewed more closely.”

Geiger has not confirmed which of the 30 listed individuals and organizations announced on Wednesday were “potential partners” and which were actual confirmed partners of the OpenLibra project.

So far, CoinDesk has received direct confirmation from nine individuals affirming their involvement in the OpenLibra initiative.

They are: ethereum developer Lane Rettig, Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) Ph.D. student Barnabe Monnot, Democracy Earth founder Santi Siri, Tendermint director Zaki Manian, Iqlusion founder Tony Arcieri, Vulcanize founder Rick Dudley, BlockScience founder Michael Zargham, SUTD professor Georgios Piliouras and HiveOnline founder Sofie Blakstad.

Each said they are contributing individually to the OpenLibra project for now, without specifying whether their affiliated organizations would contribute in the future.

Blakstad emphasized that her involvement in OpenLibra was primarily ideological.

“I can confirm that I am giving my support to the OpenLibra project, although we are not directly engaged with building the technology,” Blakstad said in an email to CoinDesk. “My support for OpenLibra is a personal choice driven by my very strong convictions.”

As for Vulcanize’s Rick Dudley, OpenLibra is a project he may or may not continue to work closely with due to “complex conflicts of interest.”

Regardless, Dudley told CoinDesk that having his name featured on the OpenLibra site without his express permission was not all that surprising.

“It happens all the time in the blockchain space,” Dudley said.

The OpenLibra site has since taken down all the names of its “contributors” and updated the website.

“The OpenLibra project is a loose collective of individuals,” the updated website says:

“We are individuals from some of the best-in-class blockchain projects and non-profit foundations, working on a crypto-native solution regarding Libra.”

Lucas Geiger image via Twitter


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