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Vodafone pulls out of Facebook-backed Libra Association to focus on M-Pesa

Vodafone pulls out of Facebook-backed Libra Association to focus on M-Pesa

Vodafone Group, a U.K.-based telecommunications conglomerate, became the latest company to pull out of Libra, the Facebook backed digital currency project. 

Vodafone and Libra confirmed the withdrawal in separate statements and the telecom firm said it will focus on further developing its M-Pesa mobile money transfer and microfinancing service, which serves more than 37 million customers in Africa. 

"Vodafone Group has decided to withdraw from the Libra Association," a Vodafone spokesman provided Mobile Payments Today with an email statement. "We have said from the outset that Vodafone's desire is to make a genuine contribution to extending financial inclusion."

The news follows earlier withdrawals in 2019 by several major payment card and processing companies, including Visa Inc., Mastercard Inc., Stripe, PayPal Holdings Inc. and EBay Inc. The companies pulled out in October, amid intense scrutiny of Facebook by U.S. regulators amid lingering concerns about whether Facebook could be trusted to protect user privacy and the potential impact of Libra on sovereign currencies. 

"We can confirm that Vodafone is no longer a member of the Libra Association," Dante Disparte, head of policy and communications, said in an emailed statement. "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."

Disparte went on to say the association was "continuing the work to achieve a safe, transparent and consumer friendly implementation of the Libra payment system."

The announcement comes just days after several central banks announced they would form a working group to study digital currency. 

Cover image: iStock

Topics: Bitcoin, Regulatory Issues, Underbanked / Unbanked

Companies: Facebook, PayPal, Visa, M-PESA, MasterCard, Vodafone Group Plc, Stripe

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