PAYPAL HAS BECOME the first major financial institution to blink over Facebook's controversial proposals for its own cryptocurrency, Libra.
The social network has been on the receiving end of significant criticism since it announced plans for its own currency earlier this year but had achieved partnerships with most of the main payment processors.
However, as ongoing criticism of the concept increases from the world's financial regulators, word has it that there are itchy feet all round with PayPal making the first move.
PayPal said that it was "supportive" of the concept but has decided to go its own way.
Facebook responded in an almost Trumpenesque sour-grapes sort of way: "Commitment to that mission is more important to us than anything else," it said. "We're better off knowing about this lack of commitment now."
Actually, it sounds more like a state of the union after seven dates.
The original group of 17 companies that agreed to be part of the Libra project (18 including PayPal) include blue-chip firms like Visa and challengers like ride-sharing giant Uber.
But regulators have warned that they would block the launch of Libra in their respective territories - citing concerns over the stability of the traditional currency markets, and the potential for Facebook to combine its currency ambitions with its data harvesting tendencies.
The next milestone is 14 October when the council of elders of Libra, known as the Libra Council, meets for the first time. It has indicated that it will use that occasion to reveal 1,500 "entities" that have expressed enthusiasm for the project.
The PayPal announcement means that when Libra eventually launches, it won't accept conversions to and from PayPal accounts, which seems like ‘no big deal', but would have been a fairly coveted feature. µ
Facebook is yet to commit to a launch date for Libra and the Calibra wallet, but it could be delayed in legal wrangles for months or even years, plus PayPal's decision to sidestep involvement could be just the tip of the iceberg. µ
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