Facebook's head of the Libra cryptocurrency project said that while development of the cryptocurrency venture would get tougher, it was "absolutely not" in jeopardy despite the departures of several key partners.
David Marcus said in an interview with Yahoo Finance that the withdrawal from the Libra Association of payment companies PayPal, Mercado Pago, Visa, Mastercard and Stripe, and e-commerce groups eBay and Booking made no change to the plans to launch the cryptocurrency.
He added that the Libra Association would continue its job of finding further members - creating "more diversity" among its partners and targeting around 100 members before the planned launch in the first half of 2020.
Marcus dismissed the idea - defined by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin earlier this week - that the departures from the project had been down to fears over regulatory hurdles, such as those governing financial crime and money laundering. He said:
I understand that they have a responsibility to their shareholders and ot their stakeholders and they were under a lot of pressure. We're fleshing out all of the regulatory requirements and oversight required for this to operate, but nothing has changed.
Earlier, the Libra Association set out its position on Twitter, saying it was doing everything it could to ensure full regulatory compliance before launch.
We've said from the beginning that Libra shouldn’t and wouldn’t launch without the appropriate regulatory oversight and addressing legitimate concerns. Every time someone agrees with us, it doesn’t constitute a “blow” or “setback.” Innovation and regulation can live in harmony.— Libra (@Libra_) October 15, 2019
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