Facebook’s crypto project is falling apart before our eyes

Image: REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
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Facebook’s cryptocurrency project is crumbling, as partners abandon the initiative.

Today (Oct. 11), eBay and Stripe became the latest members to leave the Libra Association, the group Facebook put together in June to pursue building its own global cryptocurrency. Their departures, reported by the Financial Times, follow one week after PayPal pulled out from the oversight team.

“We highly respect the vision of the Libra Association; however, eBay has made the decision to not move forward as a founding member,” a spokesperson told Quartz. “At this time, we are focused on rolling out eBay’s managed payments experience for our customers.”

A Stripe spokesperson also offered comment. “Stripe is supportive of projects that aim to make online commerce more accessible for people around the world. Libra has this potential. We will follow its progress closely and remain open to working with the Libra Association at a later stage.”

Mastercard may be leaving as well.

The company wasn’t immediately available to comment.

Visa has also dropped out of the Libra Association, according to the BBC.

The company wasn’t immediately available to comment.

The exits occur just days before the Libra Association is slated to meet for its first board meeting in Geneva, Switzerland. It’s unclear whether that meeting, scheduled for Monday (Oct. 14) will proceed. Uber, Lyft, and Spotify are among the major players that remain in the Libra Association. Venture capitals firm Andreessen Horowitz and Union Square Ventures are also still involved, in addition to crypto-native partners like Coinbase, an exchange.

Facebook is in full damage-control mode as its partners pull out. Yesterday, the company invited media, including Quartz, to attend a private, on-the-record dinner in Washington, DC on Oct. 17, just ahead of Mark Zuckerberg’s Oct. 23 testimony before the US House of Representatives’ financial services committee.

Quartz reached out to Facebook for comment on the spate of departures and will update this story as necessary.