PayPal Withdraws From Facebook-Led Libra Crypto Project

PayPal has withdrawn from the Libra Association, the company announced Friday.

A PayPal spokesperson told CoinDesk in a statement that the payments firm “made the decision to forgo further participation” in the Facebook-initiated crypto project, to instead “continue to focus on advancing our existing mission and business priorities as we strive to democratize access to financial services for underserved populations.”

The statement continued:

“We remain supportive of Libra’s aspirations and look forward to continued dialogue on ways to work together in the future. Facebook has been a longstanding and valued strategic partner to PayPal, and we will continue to partner with and support Facebook in various capacities.”

“We can confirm that PayPal has notified us and intends not to join,” a Libra Association spokesperson told CoinDesk via email.

Facebook unveiled Libra in June, announcing that it would launch a stablecoin meant to bring financial services to unbanked individuals worldwide. The project was met with immediate regulatory backlash, with policymakers in multiple countries claiming that Facebook might run the risk of destabilizing the global monetary order. Ministers from France and Germany promised to block the project, while U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters called on Facebook to halt all development.

The social media giant explained that it would work with 27 launch partners to oversee the governance of the Libra token, using its partner Libra Investment Token as a voting tool. The association is supposed to meet on Oct. 14 to sign a charter formally creating this governing council.

On Friday, the Libra Association’s head of policy and communications, Dante Disparte, said in a statement that “building a modern, low-friction, high-security payment network that can empower billions of financially underserved people is a journey, not a destination. This journey to build a generational payment network like the Libra project is not an easy path.”

Disparte added:

“We recognize that change is hard, and that each organization 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. We look forward to the first Libra Council meeting in 10 days and will be sharing updates following that, including details of the 1,500 entities that have indicated enthusiastic interest to participate.”

The news comes a day after the Financial Times reported that PayPal was on the verge of pulling out.

David Marcus, CEO of Facebook’s Calibra subsidiary, July 17, 2019, image via House Financial Services Committee