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Vodafone quits Facebook's Libra project

Vodafone quits Facebook's Libra project

Vodafone has become the latest Associate Member to quit Facebook's beleaguered digital currency project, Libra.

The telecoms company continues an exodus from Facebook's project to create its own cryptocurrency, after Mastercard, Visa, eBay, Stripe, Mercado Paygo and booking.com all headed for the exit in October last year.

Vodafone has stated that despite its desire to contribute to extending financial inclusion, it believes its efforts would be better served focussing on its payment platform, M-Pesa.

Libra's head of policy and communications, Dante Disparte, says: "Although the makeup of the Association members may change over time, the design of Libra's governance and technology ensures the Libra payment system will remain resilient".

Announced in June, Libra attracted scrutiny from regulators and politicians concerned by the social media company disrupting the world's financial system.

This culminated in CEO Mark Zuckerberg appearing on Capitol Hill where he received a grilling from Congress for the Libra project, as well as Facebook's prior record on handling of data and alleged nefarious role in influencing democratic elections.

Further blows were dealt to Libra in subsequent weeks with the EU and the Federal Reserve raising questions and issuing warnings.

Originally intended to launch in the first half of 2020, the concerns raised look likely to push this date back.

Facebook may also face powerful competition from central banks, who have banded together to conduct their own research into the prospects for  central bank-backed digital currencies.

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