Vodafone pulls out of Facebook currency play – Mobile World Live

Vodafone pulls out of Facebook currency play

22 JAN 2020

Vodafone Group became the latest high-profile backer to withdraw from Facebook’s Libra Association, dealing another blow to the struggling cryptocurrency project.

The operator followed Visa, Mastercard, PayPal, Stripe and eBay in pulling out of the Association, which will manage and promote Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency and mobile wallet Calibra.

Vodafone and Iliad were the only two operator groups to back the association, which was unveiled in June 2019. The latter is still listed as a member on the Libra Association’s website.

In a statement, Vodafone didn’t provide any explanation for its withdrawal, but maintained the company’s “desire 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 m-Pesa.”

The project, pushed by Facebook as a way to slash international remittance costs by using cryptocurrency in place of traditional money transfers, was slated for a launch in 2020.

However, European Union regulators have warned digital currencies such as Libra need to fully scrutinised before they are allowed to see the light of day.

Responding to Vodafone’s withdrawal, Dante Disparte, head of policy and communications for the Libra Association said: “Although the make-up of the Association members may change over time, the design of Libra’s governance and technology ensures the Libra payment system will remain resilient.”

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Kavit Majithia

Kavit joined Mobile World Live in May 2015 as Content Editor. He started his journalism career at the Press Association before joining Euromoney’s graduate scheme in April 2010. Read More >>

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