Ottawa-based e-commerce company Shopify Inc. has joined Libra Association, the group behind Facebook’s plan to create a global cryptocurrency. This move is crucial for Libra since most other companies took the opposite direction – Mastercard, Visa, eBay, Stripe, Vodafone, Mercado Paygo, and booking.com all bailed on the project.
In a statement, Shopify said it linked up with the venture to “work collectively to build a payment network that makes money easier to access and supports merchants and consumers everywhere.”
Facebook’s plan to broaden its influence beyond communications and advertising into finance with a virtual currency, unveiled last June, drew a swift backlash from politicians in the United States.
“As online commerce becomes increasingly borderless, it’s easy to forget that payments and the value exchange of goods are not a solved problem everywhere,” the company said. “Much of the world’s financial infrastructure was not built to handle the scale and needs of internet commerce. As a member of the Libra Association, we will work collectively to build a payment network that makes money easier to access and supports merchants and consumers everywhere.”
“We are proud to welcome Shopify, Inc. (SHOP) to the Libra Association. As a multinational commerce platform with over one million businesses in approximately 175 countries, Shopify, Inc. brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the Libra project,” writes Dante Disparte, the Libra Association’s head of Policy and Communications. “Shopify joins an active group of Libra Association members committed to achieving a safe, transparent, and consumer-friendly implementation of a global payment system that breaks down financial barriers for billions of people.”
This came a few weeks after Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg appeared in front of the US Congress to answer questions about the social media giant’s plans for the Libra project, where he acknowledged that his organization is “not the ideal messenger” for a global stable coin.
The Federal Reserve also issued a warning to Facebook about the high regulatory standards it would need to meet before being able to launch.