Libra suffered another major setback as four more early backers announced they were ending their involvement with the Facebook-created Libra Association.
Visa, eBay, Mastercard, and payments processor Stripe all announced that they would leave the organization tasked with making key decisions about the cryptocurrency’s future.
Their departures follow PayPal, which announced last week it was leaving the Libra Association, and comes just days ahead of the first Libra Association Council meeting in Switzerland. PayPal left even though its former president, David Marcus, is the head of Libra at Facebook. The Financial Times first reported that eBay and Stripe were leaving, and reports soon surfaced that Visa and Mastercard had departed as well.
The Wall Street Journal had earlier reported that some founding members were getting cold feet amid regulatory scrutiny and other concerns.
“We are focused on moving forward and continuing to build a strong association of some of the world’s leading enterprises, social impact organizations and other stakeholders to achieve a safe, transparent, and consumer-friendly implementation of a global payment system that breaks down financial barriers for billions of people,” Libra Association head of policy and communication Dante Disparte said in a statement. “Although the makeup of the Association members may grow and change over time, the design principle of Libra’s governance and technology, along with the open nature of this project ensures the Libra payment network will remain resilient. We look forward to the inaugural Libra Association Council meeting in just 3 days and announcing the initial members of the Libra Association.”
None of the companies have provided reasons for their sudden exit. Though there are still a number of other founding members who currently remain part of the Libra Association, these names represent some of its biggest partners. At the time of this writing, logos for eBay, MasterCard, Visa, and Stripe were still prominently displayed on the Libra Association’s website.
“We highly respect the vision of the Libra Association; however, eBay has made the decision to not move forward as a founding member,” an eBay spokesperson said in a statement. “At this time, we are focused on rolling out eBay’s managed payments experience for our customers.”
A Stripe spokesperson said the company could opt to work with Libra at a future date. “Stripe is supportive of projects that aim to make online commerce more accessible for people around the world. Libra has this potential. We will follow its progress closely and remain open to working with the Libra Association at a later stage.”
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will testify before the House Financial Services Committee later this month, where he’ll likely face questions about Libra, as many lawmakers have been critical of the cryptocurrency project.