Libra Association Holds Inaugural Meeting, Despite Seven Members Leaving

The Libra Association gathered in Switzerland on Monday to establish its goals, despite recent news of members leaving.

The Libra Association held its inaugural meeting this Monday in Switzerland, gathering 21 of the intended 28 members, reported Reuters. The board of five members was elected right after the news that Booking Holding had also withdrawn from the Association.

The Libra Association already had lost PayPal, MasterCard, VISA, Stripe, eBay, and Mercado Pago, as the payment providers moved away from the project. The withdrawals were rumored since the beginning of October, and happened after Libra faced further criticism from US senators.

Visa, Mastercard and Stripe left after they received letters of warning from Democratic senators Brian Schatz of Hawaii and Sherrod Brown of Ohio. The letters suggested that collaborating with Libra could lead to increased regulatory scrutiny. Payment companies already have to face increased regulatory demands to ensure user identities and transparency.

The Libra Association now has only one payment processing firm remaining, PayU, a Netherlands-based fintech firm with no business in the US. Among other prominent members are Vodafone Technologies, as well as Uber Technologies and Lyft.

David Marcus, head of the Calibra wallet, has seen the exodus as a temporary setback, not decisive of the fate of Libra. Facebook has reportedly attracted the interest of up to 180 companies which could join in as Libra Association members, or as block producers.

However, Dante Disparte, head of policy and communication at the Libra Association, stated that regulatory requirements may push back the date of the actual Libra launch. Initially, Libra was planned for the first quarter of 2020, without giving more details on an exact deadline.

In the end, Libra has lost some of the credibility by being supported by the largest payment processors. Additionally, the company faces potential restrictions in Europe, while aiming to first satisfy the demands of US-based regulators. Calibra, the wallet project, has already agreed to stay away from India.

The Libra digital asset would not have relied on the structures of any of the payment processors, instead building its own network of reserve holders and coin issuers.

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