PayPal, a major tech company and payment processing firm, has decided not to participate in Facebook’s creation of an in-house built cryptocurrency called Libra.
“PayPal has made the decision to forgo further participation in the Libra Association at this time and to continue to focus on advancing our existing mission and business priorities as we strive to democratize access to financial services for underserved populations,” the company said in a statement. “We remain supportive of Libra’s aspirations and look forward to continued dialogue on ways to work together in the future. Facebook has been a longstanding and valued strategic partner to PayPal, and we will continue to partner with and support Facebook in various capacities.”
The company, like all of the “co-founders” of Libra, invested $10 million into the project. It is unclear what will happen to the investment.
Facebook announced its Libra project in June, and announced at the same time 28 corporate co-founders. The co-founders included MasterCard, PayPal, Visa, eBay, Spotify, Uber, Lyft, Vodafone Group, and venture capitalist Andreessen Horowitz. Libra is subject to governance by a non-profit organization called the Libra Association, which is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, and is supposed to be independent of Facebook.
“While Facebook played a key role in developing Libra Blockchain and the Libra Association, the final decision-making authority rests with the association as a whole,” Engadget said. “Each founding member will have the same commitments, privileges and financial obligations.”
There is no word on whether any of the other co-founders will pull out of the project following PayPal’s announcement.
Facebook’s goal appears to be to create a currency that will replace, or at least significantly reduce the use of paper money.
Facebook’s 2.4 billion monthly users will be able to change dollars and other international currencies into its new digital coins, which can then be used on the internet.
“Success will mean that a person working abroad has a fast and simple way to send money to family back home, and a college student can pay their rent as easily as they can buy a coffee,” states Facebook in its documentation of Libra,” Facebook’s white paper on the project states.
Facebook is also reportedly developing ATM-like machines in which people can convert their dollars into Libra.
As with any Facebook or Big Tech-related project, there is concern about the company’s ethics. Facebook has been known to ban prominent conservatives for sharing ordinary conservative opinions under the guise of “Hate Speech.” Our own Laura Loomer has been banned under such circumstances, and is suing the company for $3 billion.
The question is this: what happens to banned users in the future if Libra does become the dominant form of currency worldwide? Will those who harbor the “wrong” opinions be stripped of the ability to participate in the marketplace? The larger story surrounding Libra is whether it is a tool that will ultimately be used for good or evil in society. We are allowing Big Tech to concentrate a great deal of power within their own organizations. What happens if they become too powerful? Or more powerful than the federal government, which some would argue is already the case?
Conservatives who have been banned from Big Tech have been warning about this concentration of power for a few years, as we careen toward tech totalitarianism.