UPDATE (Oct. 4, 2019, 19:55 UTC): PayPal has formally withdrawn from the Libra Association, a spokesperson confirmed. Read more here.
One of the founding Libra Association members may be on the verge of pulling out.
The Financial Times reported Thursday that payments firm PayPal is considering leaving the Facebook-initiated crypto project due in part to the regulatory backlash Libra has received in recent months.
According to the Financial Times, PayPal representatives did not attend a Libra Association meeting on Thursday, in what may be a sign of the broader turmoil.
Facebook first revealed Libra in June, unveiling a grand ambition of providing financial services to more than a billion unbanked individuals through a stablecoin accessible by any smartphone.
As part of its project, Libra will be overseen by a governing council of 100 members, including Facebook and its subsidiary Calibra. PayPal, Visa, Mastercard, Uber and 22 other prominent payments and services firms were listed as founding members of the council, dubbed the Libra Association.
Dante Disparte, the Libra Association’s head of policy and communications, told the FT in a statement also shared with CoinDesk that building a project like Libra “is not an easy path.”
“We recognise that change is hard, and that each organisation that started this journey will have to make its own assessment of risks and rewards of being committed to seeing through the change that Libra promises,” he said.
Thursday’s revelation follows a Wall Street Journal report that Visa and Mastercard are also considering withdrawing from the project. Like PayPal, it is possible that these companies are concerned that the regulatory backlash and scrutiny to Libra will extend to their current businesses as well.
Calibra CEO David Marcus, himself the former president of PayPal, addressed the Journal’s report on Twitter, writing that he had “no knowledge of specific organizations’ plans to not step up.”
“The tone of some of this reporting suggests angst, etc… I can tell you that we’re very calmly, and confidently working through the legitimate concerns that Libra has raised by bringing conversations about the value of digital currencies to the forefront.”
A spokesperson for PayPal did not immediately return a request for comment.
David Marcus image via U.S. Senate Banking Committee