PayPal Exits Facebook’s Digital Currency Oversight Group, the Libra Association

PayPal Holdings pulled out of the Libra Association, a blow to Facebook’s efforts to develop a digital currency.

“PayPal has made the decision to forgo further participation in the Libra Association at this time and to continue to focus on advancing our existing mission and business priorities as we strive to democratize access to financial services for underserved populations,” the payments company said in a statement emailed to Bloomberg News on Friday. A Facebook spokeswoman declined to comment.

Several founding members of the Facebook-led project have been wavering over whether to fully embrace the effort because they’re concerned about maintaining positive relationships with regulators who have reservations about the initiative, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg earlier this week.

The Libra Association, the group of companies Facebook has assembled to oversee the cryptocurrency, has 28 founding members. The organization has asked these members to reaffirm their commitment to the project later this month, according to three people familiar with the matter. Before Libra was unveiled, the companies signed nonbinding letters of intent to explore joining the association.

Dante Disparte, head of policy and communications for the Libra Association, confirmed PayPal’s decision, and said the first Libra Council meeting will take place on Oct. 14.

“This journey to build a generational payment network like the Libra project is not an easy path,” he added in a statement. “We recognize that change is hard, and that each organization that started this journey will have to make its own assessment of risks and rewards of being committed to seeing through the change that Libra promises.”

Disparte also noted that 1,500 “entities” have indicated “enthusiastic interest” in being part of the Association.

“We remain supportive of Libra’s aspirations and look forward to continued dialogue on ways to work together in the future,” PayPal said on Friday. “Facebook has been a longstanding and valued strategic partner to PayPal, and we will continue to partner with and support Facebook in various capacities.”

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