Another day, another backer dropping from Facebook’s Libra to distance themselves from Facebook’s cryptocurrency project. Today, Ebay, Mastercard, Stripe and Visa each said they would drop their support of Facebook’s proposed cryptocurrency, just days before the remaining backers are set to meet in Geneva to discuss the project’s future.
Ebay and Stripe gave statements to The Financial Times describing that, though Libra has potential, neither, in good faith, could continue their backing. “We highly respect the vision of the Libra Association; however, eBay has made the decision to not move forward as a founding member,” in favor of working on its own native offerings for eBay customers, eBay said.
Meanwhile, the online payment processor Stripe said that although Libra has the potential to be a project that “[aims] to make online commerce more accessible for people around the world,” it isn’t quite there yet. “We will follow its progress closely and remain open to working with the Libra Association at a later stage,” a company spokesperson said.
These past few days have not been kind to the proposed cryptocurrency, whose short history has been fraught with legal pressure from regulators and politicians, citing money laundering concerns and worries about widespread financial stability. Some, like Rep. Carolyn Maloney or House Financial Services Chair Maxine Waters, have tried to call for Libra’s rollout to be paused, or canceled altogether.
On Oct. 23, Mark Zuckerberg will be speaking in front of the House Financial Services Committee, ostensibly to assuage the fears of lawmakers and backers alike. Both Mastercard and Stripe, along with fellow financial giant Visa, reportedly started questioning their involvement following letters mailed to the company’s CEOs from the Senate Banking Committee, urging the companies to “carefully consider how your company will manage” the Libra project’s risks. Just days later, the digital banking giant PayPal withdrew its own support for the project, and Libra’s head of product, Simon Morris, departed the project.