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Facebook’s Libra Association crumbling as Mastercard, Stripe, and eBay exit

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Mastercard, eBay, and Stripe have all withdrawn from the Libra Association, dealing a major blow to Facebook’s plans for a distributed, global cryptocurrency. The withdrawals were first reported by the Financial Times and Bloomberg.

Mastercard, eBay, and Stripe backed out just one week after PayPal (eBay’s former parent company) withdrew from the association. The move also comes just days before the first official meeting of the Libra Association, scheduled for October 14th in Geneva, which will likely result in more specific commitments from all the members involved. Still, the defections leave Libra in a precarious place as they hope to move beyond initial criticisms of the project.

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

Stripe gave a similar explanation for its withdrawal. “Stripe is supportive of projects that aim to make online commerce more accessible for people around the world,” the company said. “Libra has this potential. We will follow its progress closely and remain open to working with the Libra Association at a later stage.” Mastercard did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In response, Libra Association policy chief Dante Disparte thanked the companies for their ongoing support of the organization’s mission.

“We are focused on moving forward and continuing to build a strong association of some of the world’s leading enterprises, social impact organizations and other stakeholders,” Disparte said. “We look forward to the inaugural Libra Association Council meeting in just 3 days and announcing the initial members of the Libra Association.”

The remaining Libra members are facing growing pressure from governments and regulators, many of whom see the project as a threat to the existing financial system. On Wednesday, two Democratic senators urged Visa, Mastercard, and Stripe to reconsider their involvement with Libra, saying it could have significant regulatory consequences for any payment processor involved.

“If you take this on,” the letters read, “you can expect a high level of scrutiny from regulators not only on Libra-related activities, but on all payment activities.”

4:14PM ET: Updated with comment from the Libra Association.

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