E-commerce giant Shopify has joined the Libra Association
E-commerce platform Shopify is joining the Libra Association, breathing new life into Facebook’s beleaguered “crypto” project that lost a string a high-profile members last year. The Canadian multinational e-commerce giant manages online stores and retail point-of-sale systems for over one million businesses in 175 countries.
Shopify’s office in Canada
The Libra Foundation has confirmed the news in a Facebook post, outlining that Shopify would be an “incredible partner in making widespread economic participation a reality.”
After eBay, Visa, Stripe and other high-profile partners ditched the Facebook -backed cryptocurrency collective, this is good news for Libra. Shopify will become a member of Libra Association, contributing at least $10 million and operating a node that processes transactions for the Facebook-originated stable coin.
In the announcement, Shopify claimed that its action to join the network comes in line with the company’s desire to tackle the unsolved problem of cross-border payments. According to the company, “much of the world’s financial infrastructure was not built to handle the scale and needs of internet commerce.”
Shopify further emphasized that as a major global e-commerce platform, the company should challenge existing standards in the global payment system in order to bring “transparent fees and easy access to capital,” while ensuring the security and privacy of merchants.
The Libra coin is a stablecoin that will be tied to a basket of currencies. Controlled, at least initially, by the Libra Association, which is a Swiss-based governing body comprised of several companies and organizations, including Coinbase, Thrive Capital Spotify and Union Square Ventures, the blockchain-based digital asset differs from Bitcoin (BTC) and other truly decentralized cryptocurrencies, which are not controlled by any central authority.
Given Facebook’s checkered track record on privacy issues, seven high-profile members dropped out of the controversial project last year: Visa, Mastercard, Booking Holdings, eBay, PayPal, Stripe and Mercado Pago. Vodafone withdrew in January.
That’s not stopping new players from recognizing a core value proposition in Libra. According to Shopify’s announcement, the company is motivated by its mission to help people around the world who don’t have easy access to money and banking, calling the status quo a “global problem”.
But for any of that to happen, the Libra Association will have to convince the U.S. government, the EU and more that it won’t help terrorists launder money, hurt people’s privacy or weaken nations’ power in the global financial system. “The French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said, “the monetary sovereignty of countries is at stake from a possible privatisation of money . . . we cannot authorise the development of Libra on European soil.”
Libra was initially slated to launch in 2020.
Here’s the full list of Libra Association members:
Facebook’s Calibra, Shopify, PayU, Farfetch, Lyft, Spotify, Uber, Illiad SA, Anchorage, Bison Trails, Coinbase, Xapo, Andreessen Horowitz, Union Square Ventures, Breakthrough Initiatives, Ribbit Capital, Thrive Capital, Creative Destruction Lab, Kiva, Mercy Corps, Women’s World Banking.
Vodafone, Visa, Mastercard, Stripe, PayPal, Mercado Pago, Bookings Holdings, eBay.
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