The Libra Association has hailed a "new day" for the Facebook-backed cryptocurrency project, rebranding as Diem in an attempt to stress its independence as it seeks regulatory approval for a 2021 launch.
Plans for the cryptocurrency have been watered down excessively over the past year after facing a regulatory backlash and the departure of a number of key member associations from the payments sector.
The current iteration of the project involves the issue of a single stablecoin pegged to the US dollar, a significant scaling back from recently revised plans to issue a series of stablecoins backed by individual traditional currencies, as well as a token based on the currency-pegged stablecoins.
The Libra Association has also been recruiting heavily from within the banking sector, hiring senior staff from the likes of HSBC and Credit Suisse to guide operational preparedness and corporate governance.
The Association and payment system operator Diem Networks, has additionally confirmed the appointment of Dahlia Malkhi as chief technology officer, Christy Clark as chief of staff, Steve Bunnell as chief legal officer, and Kiran Raj as executive vice president for growth and innovation and deputy general counsel.
“The Diem project will provide a simple platform for fintech innovation to thrive and enable consumers and businesses to conduct instantaneous, low-cost, highly secure transactions,” says Stuart Levey, Diem Association’s CEO. “We are committed to doing so in a way that promotes financial inclusion - expanding access to those who need it most, and simultaneously protecting the integrity of the financial system by deterring and detecting illicit conduct. We are excited to introduce Diem - a new name that signals the project’s growing maturity and independence.”
With the top team now in place, the Diem Association is prioritising technological and operational readiness for launch.
The Financial Times last week reported that Libra was hoping to get the business up and running by January next year. The Association has committed that it will proceed only upon receiving regulatory approval, including a payment systems license for the operational subsidiary of the Association from Swiss regulator Finma.