Libra Association members urged to quit by consumer groups

19 Jul, 2019 | Updated: 19 Jul, 2019
by David Robb
Libra Association members urged to quit by consumer groups

A number of consumer advocacy groups have urged the founding members of the Libra Association to quit the project. In an open letter, the coalition informs Facebook's 28 partners to "collectively withdraw".

The social media giant's new crypto project has been a major cause for concern for leading authorities in the U.S. and further afield. David Marcus, the head of Facebook's new subsidiary Calibra, appeared at hearings organized by both the Senate and the House of Representatives over the past two days.

The Libra Association's members are leading figures from the financial and tech sectors, amongst others. Coinbase, Mastercard, and Visa have all contributed funds in order to have a say in the governance of the new stablecoin. Consumer groups led by Open Markets, in coalition with Public Citizen, Demand Progress Education Fund, and Revolving Door Project, are now calling on the partners to abandon the project.

According to the letter, Libra is "a global parallel currency with significant competitive, political, financial, and social implications. The ostensible purpose is to service the 1.7 billion people without access to traditional banking products and services. Achieving a laudable goal should not be cheapened with a project whose aims are in fact unclear and whose leadership structure is based on fear".

Issues identified with Libra apparently include "its potential to facilitate money-laundering, terrorist financing, bank runs, systemic risk, evasion of sanctions, and anti-competitive activity". The letter claims that "Facebook is eager to present itself as just one voice of many in the Libra Association. No one is fooled by this subterfuge... if you collectively withdraw from the project, it will signal that the just-beginning era of digital money will be based on fair rules and democratic deliberation, and not intimidation by the powerful."

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