On January 21, 2020, British telecommunications conglomerate Vodafone became the eighth company to withdraw from the Libra Association. Vodafone and Libra confirmed in a press release that the company is no longer part of the consortium.
According to reports, Vodafone will now dedicate resources previously reserved for Libra to its well-established digital payment service M-Pesa, which the corporation plans to expand beyond the 6 African countries currently served.
The split seems to be amicable, with Vodafone leaving explicitly to cater to its financial inclusion ambitions rather than for regulatory fears that have scared off other former members of the Libra Association.
With this move, Vodafone joins Paypal, Mastercard, Visa, Mercado Pago, eBay, Stripe, and Booking Holdings in withdrawing from the controversial cryptocurrency project.
Vodafone has long managed its own digital currency in Africa thanks to M-Pesa, a transfer service based on a mobile platform.
Libra Association Soldiers On With Its Cryptocurrency
Despite losing numerous partners over the past few months, mainly due to regulatory hurdles, the Libra Project looks well on its way to seeing a 2020 launch.
The Libra association has already launched a testnet for its digital currency, with new features added in the past few months. Additionally, Libra intends to admit new members to its Association in 2020, with sources close to the project placing the waitlist at about 1500 interested corporations.
Vodafone itself has not ruled out the possibility of backing the Libra cryptocurrency, with its spokesman telling news reporters that the company continues to monitor the development of the Libra Association and doesn’t rule out the possibility of future cooperation.
Just last week, Libra announced the formation of a technical steering committee to oversee the development of its digital coin, with the head of policy and communications for the Libra Association. Dante Disparte reiterated that they would continue in efforts to achieve a safe, transparent, and user-friendly implementation of the Libra payment system.
Regulatory Concerns Haven’t Dampened Libra’s Resolve
While Libra was initially envisioned to launch in the first half of this year, that timeline has been questioned after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that regulatory concerns could push back the date.
That said, Libra’s resolve to build a financial ecosystem that can connect and empower billions of people seems unchanged.
Disparte stated that although the membership of the Association may change over time, Libra’s concept of governance and technology ensures that the payment system will remain resilient.