In the span of one week, four big corporate partners have backed out of Facebook’s controversial plan to launch a digital currency called Libra.
PayPal bailed last Friday, and now eBay, Mastercard, and Stripe are tripping over each other on their way out the door. Another major partner, Visa, has also been reportedly “reconsidering” its role in the nonprofit organization charged with running Libra, according to the Wall Street Journal. The departures follow opposition to the project from France as well as the House Financial Services Committee—the latter will get to hear from CEO Mark Zuckerberg himself in a hearing on October 23.
The Libra Association’s remaining partners, including Uber, Spotify, and Coinbase, plan to gather next week in Geneva, Switzerland, to appoint a board of directors for the group. The ongoing scrutiny of Libra makes Facebook’s partners all the more vital to actually launching Libra. But already, many of the financial heavyweights that signed on for Libra seem to have lost interest in offering Facebook anything more than verbal support.
“We highly respect the vision of the Libra Association; however, eBay has made the decision to not move forward as a founding member,” an eBay spokesperson said in a statement published by Bloomberg. Likewise, a Stripe spokesperson kindly wrote, “Stripe is supportive of projects that aim to make online commerce more accessible for people around the world. Libra has this potential.”
But apparently there’s not enough potential for these partners to want to wait out the storm with Zuckerberg.
Reached for comment on the departures, a Facebook spokesperson directed us to the Libra Association, which sent over the following statement from policy and communications head Dante Disparte:
“We appreciate their support for the goals and mission of the Libra project. We are focused on moving forward and continuing to build a strong association of some of the world’s leading enterprises, social impact organizations and other stakeholders to achieve a safe, transparent, and consumer-friendly implementation of a global payment system that breaks down financial barriers for billions of people. Although the makeup of the Association members may grow and change over time, the design principle of Libra’s governance and technology, along with the open nature of this project ensures the Libra payment network will remain resilient. We look forward to the inaugural Libra Association Council meeting in just 3 days and announcing the initial members of the Libra Association.”
This post has been updated with a comment from the Libra Association.