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June 18, 2019 – Big Announcement
Facebook announces its new cryptocurrency, Libra, headed by David Marcus former Paypal President. Libra’s mission is to enable a simple global currency and financial infrastructure that empowers billions of people. The Libra Association has 28 founding members.
July 02, 2019 – First Major Challenge
Democrats Call on Facebook to Halt Cryptocurrency Plans. A letter is written to Facebook requesting an immediate moratorium on the implementation of Facebook’s proposed cryptocurrency and digital wallet.
July 17, 2019 – First Major Hearing
David Marcus, testifies before the US Congress to answer questions about Libra’s design, privacy measures, and potential impact on the US economy. The hearing is titled, “Examining Facebook’s Proposed Digital Currency and Data Privacy Considerations”. David assures the audience that Libra will not launch without the necessary approvals from regulators.
September 11, 2019 – Facebook engages Swiss Regulator for Payment Licence
Libra Association pursues Payment System License Under FINMA Lead Supervision. In this context, the Libra Association has submitted a request for a ruling to clarify the regulatory status of the Libra Association and the Libra coin and intends to file an application for a license as a payment system.
September 13, 2019 – European countries Move to Block Libra
France and Germany agree to block Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency. In a joint statement, the two governments affirm that “no private entity can claim monetary power, which is inherent to the sovereignty of nations”.
September 17, 2019 – Libra moves the launch date
Libra confirms plans to launch in the second half of 2020 instead of initially communicated first half of 2020.
October 4, 2019 – Paypal jumps ship
PayPal says it “[remained] supportive of Libra’s aspirations” but had chosen to focus on its own core businesses.
October 8, 2019 – Senators caution MasterCard and Visa
MasterCard and Visa warned in letters to “expect a high level of scrutiny” if they take on the risks of Libra.
October 11, 2019 – MasterCard, Visa, Stripe, eBay, Mercado Pago, jump ship
Stripe comment – “Stripe is supportive of projects that aim to make online commerce more accessible for people around the world.” Stripe will “remain open to working with the Libra Association at a later stage,” the spokesperson said.
Visa comment – “Visa will continue to evaluate and our ultimate decision will be determined by a number of factors, including the Association’s ability to fully satisfy all requisite regulatory expectations. “
October 11, 2019 – Head of Calibra responds to the dropouts
David responds on twitter, “Special thanks to Visa and Mastercard for sticking it out until the 11th hour. The pressure has been intense (understatement), and I respect their decision to wait until there’s regulatory clarity for Libra to proceed, vs. the invoked threats (by many) on their biz. Change of this magnitude is hard. You know you’re on to something when so much pressure builds up.”
October 14, 2019 – Libra Council Meeting
Libra council members meet in Geneva, Switzerland. Libra signs on 21 founding members, appoints executives and board members. Ex- PayPal director Bertrand Perez remains Libra’s permanent COO, interim MD, and newly appointed Libra’s council and board chairperson.
Booking Holdings pulls out.
October 23, 2019 – Mark Zuckerburg’s grilled by Congress on Libra
Zuckerberg is the sole witness at the hearing, titled, “An Examination of Facebook and Its Impact on the Financial Services and Housing Sectors.” “If at the end of the day we don’t receive the clearances,” Zuckerberg said, “we will not be a part of the association. I believe that this is something that needs to get built, but I get that I’m not the ideal messenger for this right now,” Zuckerberg said.
November 15, 2019 – Libra growing stronger as they focus on their strength – writing code
34 projects in just seven weeks since the launch of the testing network mid-September: 10 wallets, 11 blockchain explorers, 2 IDEs, 1 API, 11 clients
I would like to echo a statement by Deng Jianpeng, a professor at Central University of Finance and Economics in Beijing, “Regardless of whether Libra ends up thwarted by regulators, Facebook has set something unstoppable in motion.” The regulators will have to capacitate and equip themselves to keep up with the exponential growth of technology in financial services. If you are in the Fintech space, it will be worth your while to keep a close eye on the developments on Libra.
My name is Yemurayi Chinyande, I’m passionate about making payments simpler, cheaper, convenient and accessible to everyone. I am currently an IS Business Analyst managing payments products at Cassava Smartech.
Follow me on LinkedIn, Twitter for payment trends and insights:
- Twitter: @yemuraic
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