Booking Holdings Leaves Facebook’s Libra Association

Booking Holdings has thus become the latest in an array of companies that abandoned the project, leaving it with 21 founding members out of the initial 28 organizations, Bloomberg reported on Oct. 14.

Leading online travel company Booking Holdings has ditched the Libra Association, the governing consortium of Facebook’s proposed Libra stablecoin.

A promising start

Booking Holdings — which stands behind travel sites booking.com, priceline.com, agoda.com and Kayak, among others — became a founding member of the Libra Association in June. In August, Booking Holdings CEO Glenn Fogel said that he believes that blockchain-based currencies will continue to grow and could become more popular.

At the time, Fogel predicted that cash will be rarely used in the future, adding that he sees the potential for a new form of global currency that is protected and secure:

“When Bitcoin became well known, many questioned its legitimacy, and while the jury is still out on the future of Bitcoin, I do believe currencies with a blockchain base will continue to surface and may become more widely accepted across the globe, especially outside the U.S., which has a well-accepted credit card payment system.”

Ahead of upcoming Mark Zuckerberg testimony

The move comes ahead of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony on Libra before the House of Representatives Financial Services Committee on Oct. 23. Announcing the meeting, Congresswoman Maxine Waters mentioned the draft bill “Keep Big Tech Out of Finance Act”, which is designed to ban large tech firms from getting licensed as financial institutions in the United States.

Previously, Calibra wallet CEO David Marcus testified before the House Financial Services Committee and the Senate Banking Committee in regard to Libra’s development and its features. Marcus claimed that Facebook intends to be compliant with the U.S. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network in distributing Libra.

However, some lawmakers met Marcus’ statements with skepticism and concern. Earlier today, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin attributed the recent spate of firms abandoning Facebook’s Libra stablecoin project to regulatory concerns, although some industry stakeholders believe that policymakers pressured companies to leave the project.

Bank of England Governor Carney Defends Facebook’s Libra Stablecoin

Bank of England governor Mark Carney has defended Facebook’s choice to create a new currency.

Canadian news outlet TheStar reported Carney’s remarks on Oct. 15, noting that he highlighted the shortcomings of the current traditional financial system. Because of the inefficiency of the payments, Carey thinks that firms like Facebook should be involved in projects like Libra.

The current payments industry is lacking

More precisely, he reportedly criticized the high costs of moving money, saying that they penalize small businesses and can cost firms as much as 200 basis points per transaction, besides being processed too slowly. Per the report he said in earlier today in London:

“That’s not good enough in this day and age. Those payments should be instantaneous, it should be the same as us exchanging a banknote online. It should be virtually costless and it should be 100 per cent resilient.”

Regulation is still a must

Carney admits that the problem can be solved in multiple ways, and notes that the challenge “is to bring online payments and other payments up to the standard that is found in a number of major emerging economies and a few advanced economies.” Still, he also warned companies wishing to try tackling this problem, noting that developments in the space will be deeply scrutinized by authorities. He said:

“In terms of how this will proceed or not going forward, this will not be like social media. This will not be a case where something gets up and starts running and the system tries to work out after the fact how it’s regulated. It’s either going to be regulated properly, overseen properly, or it’s not going to happen.”

As Cointelegraph reported in the second half of August, Carney suggested a transformation of the global financial system by replacing the United States dollar with a digital currency similar to Facebook’s Libra.

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