Vodafone Joins Companies that Quit Facebook-Run Libra Association

UTC by Daria Rud · 3 min read
Vodafone Joins Companies that Quit Facebook-Run Libra Association
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

As Vodafone has decided to quit the Libra Association, it will focus more on its digital payment service M-Pesa and expand it beyond the six African nations it currently serves.

British multinational telecommunications conglomerate Vodafone has quit Facebook‘s Libra Association. Both Vodafone and Libra have already confirmed the information.

According to Vodafone, they will use resources intended for Libra to develop its digital payment service M-Pesa. M-Pesa enables customers to send, receive and store money securely via a basic smartphone. Used mostly in Africa, the service enables all businesses to collect payments, make stock purchases and pay salaries. Moreover, it helps governments to collect taxes and disburse social security payments.

As Vodafone representatives explained, Vodafone quit Libra not as a result of regulatory concerns but in order to focus on M-Pesa. The company aims to expand it beyond the six African nations it currently serves.

Vodafone spokesperson said:

“Vodafone Group has decided to withdraw from the Libra Association. We have said from the outset that Vodafone’s desire is to make a genuine contribution to extending financial inclusion.”

He added:

“We remain fully committed to that goal and feel we can make the most contribution by focusing our efforts on [mobile payments platform] M-Pesa.”

Further, Vodafone promised not to abandon the idea of future co-operation.

Dante Disparte, head of policy and communications for the Libra Association, said:

“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”.

Vodafone has joined seven more companies that have withdrawn from the Libra project. In addition, Vodafone is the first company to quit the Association since October 2019 when it was officially founded. PayPal, Mastercard, Visa, Mercado Pago, eBay, Stripe, and Booking Holdings withdrew earlier. But in comparison with Vodafone, these companies made such a decision as a result of regulatory scrutiny.

For example, Mastercard and Visa pulled out of the Libra project in October, citing ‘regulatory expectations’.

Libra Association Ready to Welcome New Members

The Libra Association is an independent not-for-profit organization. Its mission is to empower billions of people through the creation of a simple global currency and financial infrastructure. The association membership is made up of the validator nodes of the Libra network. Initially, these are global companies, social impact partners (SIPs), and academic institutions — the Libra Association’s Founding Members. Facebook played a key role in the creation of the Libra Association and the Libra Blockchain, therefore it maintains a leadership role.

In 2020, the Association is planning to add new members. At the moment, there are about 1,500 companies on its waitlist. To join the Libra Association, a two-thirds majority of existing participants must agree to accept a new member.

The launch of Libra currency is scheduled for the first half of this year. However, the date may shift as a result of skepticism from regulators.

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Daria Rud
Author Daria Rud

Daria is an economic student interested in the development of modern technologies. She is eager to know as much as possible about cryptos as she believes they can change our view on finance and the world in general.

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