Telecom Giant Vodafone Dumps Facebook’s Libra Association
Vodafone Group plc, a London-based multinational telecommunications conglomerate established in 1991, has officially exited Facebook’s Libra Association, to focus on its own payment solution known as M-Pesa, and possibly expand the product’s reach to all parts of Africa, according to reports on January 21, 2020.
Facebook’s Project Libra Loses Another Top Partner
Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook, the multi-billion dollar highly controversial social media network has suffered yet another setback in its journey towards creating a global cryptocurrency that will provide financial services to the world’s unbanked population.
Per sources close to the matter, British telecoms big whale, Vodafone has joined the growing list of firms that have already exited the Libra Association due to regulatory uncertainties and other issues that are plaguing the stablecoin project.
Cracks first appeared in the relationship between Facebook’s Libra Association and Vodafone last September, when Nick Read, the CEO of Vodafone buttressed the need for Facebook to appoint an independent chief executive, in order to make Project Libra a success.
“It needs a chief executive for that business. The sooner a CEO is appointed to lead it going forward that is not from Facebook, then people will then understand the ambition of the entity itself,” declared Nick Read at the time.
Libra Struggling to Survive
However, a Vodafone spokesperson has made it clear that the firm is not dropping out of the Libra Association because of any wrongdoing on the latter’s part, but rather, it’s leaving the Association to enable it to focus on the development and expansion of its payment solutions.
Commenting on the matter, the unnamed Vodafone Spokesperson said:
“We have made it clear from the beginning that Vodafone’s primary goal is to make a genuine contribution to extending financial inclusion and we remain entirely dedicated to that goal.”
In July 2019, the United States Congress asked Facebook to halt the development of Libra until it completely fixes the security, privacy, monetary policy and other concerns associated with the project.
More recently, on January 9, 2020, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), expressed doubts as to whether Libra will gain adoption in the region even if it manages to scale all the regulatory hurdles.
So far, a total of eight firms have left the Libra Association, including Mastercard, Visa, PayPal, Mercado Pago, eBay, Stripe, BookingHoldings, and Vodafone, and it remains to be seen where Libra goes from this point.