Libra crashes into the brick wall of faithless Facebook
Upheaval reflects company’s inability to demonstrate it has taken key steps to make its system safe
The idea of the world’s most powerful social network controlling a global currency was always going to face opposition. As it meets with backers on Monday, Facebook is realising just how much. PayPal has already withdrawn its support, while critics have raised a litany of concerns about potential economic havoc. Digital transformation in banking is welcome, but regulators are right to argue that Facebook has yet to make the case for its own e-bucks.
Libra — billed as a “stablecoin”, pegged to a basket of currencies — was sold as a disrupter that could bank the unbanked and slash transaction costs and times. But members of the Libra Association, due to formalise their commitment in Geneva on Tuesday, are already losing their nerve. Earlier in October, payments service PayPal was the first to depart. On Friday, Mastercard, Visa, eBay, Stripe and Mercado Pago followed suit, after substantial political pressure in the US.