Looking for second wind Libra virtual currency project

Members of the Facebook-sponsored currency project held their first official meeting in Geneva on Monday. Despite the betrayal of many partners, they want to remain optimistic.

Libra is not dead. This is essentially the message the leaders of the digital currency project want to convey after the first official meeting of members in Geneva on Monday, October 14. On including Paypal, Visa, Mastercard or eBay and the latest, reservations, Monday. “These departures do not in any way question the viability of the project. Defection now is better than two days before launch,”Libra Association President Bertrand Perez assured.

2020 launch less certain
“You have to look at the motives of the partners who quit,” Mr Perez added. These have more to do with political pressure than a negative reaction from regulators, with which discussions are still ongoing. Two U.S. senators actually wrote a letter warning Mastercard, Visa and Stripe to “think twice” before working with Facebook on Libra. But the tone reflects the skepticism and even hostility that most regulators have so far displayed.

On Monday, Libra members signed on to be part of the association, which has since created a charter of principles and a five-member board of directors for itself. Among them, PayPal’s former French-Spanish executive Bertrand Perez (Bertrand Perez) served as interim president. There are also figures in the project, David Marcus, director of Calibra, former head of Paypal, and a representative of the investment fund Andreessen Horowitz.

The priority now is to find new members: “By the end of December, we will have more than 21”, Mr. Perez assured that, according to him, 1,600 entities have already contacted Libra. First, though, it’s necessary to vote on “transparent and objective” admissions criteria. Libra has announced that it hopes to have 100 members at launch.

A launch planned for the second half of 2020 does not seem impossible, but its prospects are a bit distant: “This is our goal. But we want to make sure we get the necessary permission. We are not far from us in a project like this.»

The “systemic risk” problem
In talks with regulators, Facebook and its partners have yet to assuage some concerns. For example, “systemic risks” to the stability of a country’s currency. “Life is a payment system, not a speculative currency,” Mr. Perez explained, recalling that each Libra would be backed by reserves of stable currencies such as dollars or euros. According to him, this should not exceed $200 billion.

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