Cryptocurrency update – 15 October

Is the Facebook Libra Association dead?

No Facebook Libra is not dead, in fact it’s very much alive. The Libra Association has elected a board and they are enthusiastically boasting about how important and transformative their new global cryptocurrency will be.

But Libra faces major challenges and the future for the new online global currency is uncertain. Governments and regulators are yet to be convinced that Facebook is even capable of managing such an important and risky project. And some major partners have abandoned Libra just before its first meeting.

Who has left the Facebook Libra Association?

This week, the Facebook Libra coalition of companies are holding their first major meeting in Geneva, Switzerland but there are some empty chairs. Last week, seven major partners abandoned the Facebook Libra governing body, leaving 21 companies, including Facebook, still backing the proposed new global cryptocurrency.

PayPal, Visa, Mastercard, Stripe, eBay and Mercado Pago and Booking.com have all announced their departure. Yesterday, the remaining 21 companies, including Lyft, Spotify and Uber signed up formally to the Libra Association charter governing the new money and elected a board of five people to oversee the operation with David Marcus as the chairman.

Mr Marcus and the other board members are putting on a brave face on the crumbling membership of the Libra Association.

Kathryn Haun from has been appointed to the Libra Association board representing Silicon Valley venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, known as ‘a16z.’

“Even though some of the original members have changed we remain committed to Libra’s mission,” Ms Haun tweeted today.

The current spate of problems began for Facebook Libra on 2 October when the Wall Street Journal first raised the possibility of some companies leaving the Libra Association. And not just any companies. The sudden departure of global payments giants Visa, Mastercard, PayPal, eBay and Stripe was a harsh body blow to Libra, already reeling from attacks by many US politicians.

The WSJ report came amid continuing concerns from governments and payments experts about Facebook’s ability to secure the currency and manage privacy and governance risks.

Just six minutes after the WSJ tweet (above) appeared, David Marcus had retweeted it in a long thread criticising the newspaper and defending the Libra project.

And the remaining members of the Libra Association have been active in enthusiastically talking up the project.

“As a Founding Member of the Libra Network, Vodafone will extend its commitment to digital and financial inclusion by supporting the creation of a new global currency and encouraging a wide range of innovative financial services to be developed,” said Stefano Parisse from Vodafone.

“We are thrilled to be part of the movement to democratize access to a new decentralized global currency,” said Joe Lallouz, CEO of Bison Trails, a blockchain development company.

“Coinbase is committed to its mission of creating an open financial system for the world,” said Emilie Choi, Chief Operating Officer of Coinbase.

“We are pleased to be a Founding Member of the Libra Association because we believe this project has potential to massively increase the awareness of crypto on a global scale.”

“The vision of the Libra Association aligns perfectly with PayU’s vision of creating a world without financial borders, where everyone can prosper,” said Laurent Le Moal, Chief Executive Officer of PayU.

“Sending money to your friend shouldn’t be harder than getting them an Uber ride home,” said Peter Hazlehurst from Uber.

Cryptocurrency price update

[charts from Coinbase.com]

Meanwhile Bitcoin prices have stabilised over the last two weeks after falling sharply in the second half of September. The price of one Bitcoin has fallen 18.3 per cent ($2,754) in one month to AUS$12,308.

Ethereum has gained $2.12 over the last month and is now trading above AUS$278.

The crypto that many blockchain experts are saying should be the new Facebook currency, XRP (Ripple) has added six cents (14.6%) over the last four weeks to 44 Aussie cents.

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