Vodafone has become the latest member of the Libra Association to pull out of the cryptocurrency project. In the process, the British conglomerate will be focusing its efforts and finances somewhere else.
Vodafone Joins PayPal, Six Others to Quit Libra Association
The British telecom giant, Vodafone, announced on Tuesday, the 21st of January, that they are leaving the Libra Association, the governing body of Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency. The announcement, which was made by both Libra and Vodafone, has seen the company become the eighth member to pull out of the organization.
According to Vodafone, the company will be pulling its resources from Libra and will instead be focusing on its own digital payment service M-Pesa. Vodafone is currently planning to expand the adoption of M-Pesa beyond the six African countries it currently provides its services to.
Vodafone leaving the Libra Association seems to be an amicable decision as the company maintains that it is leaving to focus on its own payment service rather than due to the regulatory concerns surrounding the Libra coin.The head of policy and communication at the Libra Association, Dante Disparte, talked about Vodafone’s decision in a statement released by the company. Disparte stated that“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.”
The exit of Vodafone brings up the total number of companies that have left to eight. PayPal, Visa, MasterCard, Mercado Pago, eBay, Stripe, and Booking Holdings are the other seven companies to pull out of the controversial stablecoin project so far.
The payment companies on the list have probably left because of the increased scrutiny surrounding the cryptocurrency, as several U.S. Senators are now looking into them. Libra is currently working on admitting new members into the Libra Association this year, according to a source familiar with the situation.
At the moment, there are roughly 1,500 companies on the waitlist to join the Association. However, a two-thirds majority of existing members need to agree in order to add a new participant before a company joins the Libra Association.
Vodafone to Focus on Financial Services in Poorer Regions
According to Vodafone, it is pulling out of Libra to focus on providing affordable financial services to more deprived regions of the world via its M-Pesa service. A spokesperson for the company stated that, “We have said from the outset that Vodafone’s desire is to make a genuine contribution to extending financial inclusion. We remain fully committed to that goal.”
M-Pesa is a mobile platform-based transfer service that currently operates in six African countries. Vodafone is looking to enter into new markets in Africa as financial services remain poor in most parts of the continent.
Libra Launch Date Unsure
Facebook had initially planned to launch Libra in the first half of 2020 after unveiling it in June 2019. However, Mark Zuckerberg admitted that the launch date could be moved back due to regulatory concerns.
Despite the setback, Libra is still looking to become a global means of payment and it will likely be backed by several currencies including the US dollar, the British pound, the euro, and a few others. At the moment, over 1.7 billion people around the world don’t have access to financial services. Libra intends to solve this problem, making it easier for people to send and receive money from any part of the world.