In a recent interview in Davos, Switzerland, Dante A. Disparte, the Vice Chair and Head of Policy and Communications at the Libra Association, explained why his organization was not discouraged by the setbacks it has had since the Libra stablecoin project was officially announced last June.
Initially, we were told that the Libra Association is an independent not-for-profit membership organization headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland and that there were 28 founding members, "a group of diverse organizations from around the world."
However, since then, eight of the original founding members have left the Libra Association. One of those to depart the project last October was Mastercard. This is how Disparte responded back then:
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.
Mastercard President and CEO, Ajay Banga, told the Financial Times earlier this month that one of the reasons his firm pulled out was that he did not like the idea of Facing having its own proprietary Libra wallet (which is called Calibra):
It went from this altruistic idea into their own wallet. I’m like: ‘this doesn’t sound right'.
During the interview with Michael Casey, Coindesk's Chief Content Officer, Disparte said that the Association has found useful the feedback it has had from financial regulators:
So what we're seeing here is actually quite a lot of engagement. We've demonstrated over the last six months that we're not dogmatic in terms of our project structure and our approach and that we are very much taking on board the type of feedback we've heard from regulators and policymakers. So, you know, the gap is narrowing, in terms of what would be the types of issues we have to address in order to satisfy getting this project on board and moving ahead.
He also points out that Libra is an open source project and that there will be opportunities for any organization to become part of the Libra ecosystem (even those that are not part of the Libra Association):
The technology standard that we've built is open. So irrespective of whether an organization is a part of the association or not, there is an opportunity among them to develop on top of this network without having to be a part of the start-up efforts of the project or the governance of the project.
Finally, he said that the door has been left for those original founding members that have left to engage with the Association at some point in the future should they wish to collaborate:
And you know, the firms that have left, I think, have left with a door wide open for future opportunities to engage in collaboration. But right now, this is about a hardened core that are mission-aligned and wants to see through the governance and startup challenges that a project of this potential scale represents. So there's zero love lost and we very much believe that open technology permits future engagement at a later stage.