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Shopify Joins Libra Association

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Amid a slew of major companies abandoning the association, Canadian e-commerce giant Shopify has joined the Libra Association, a consortium of major financial partners of Facebook's Libra cryptocurrency project. Shopify will now become the 21st member of the association.

Shopify intends to build a payment network that makes money easier to access and supports its more than one million merchants and global consumers of the platform.

It wants to create an infrastructure that advocates transparent fees and easy access to capital, and ensure the security and privacy of its merchants' customer data.

The Libra Association was formed as an independent not-for-profit organization by the initial 28 financial backers of the Libra cryptocurrency project in June 2019 to oversee the cryptocurrency's creation and eventual consumer roll-out. These 28 companies were to invest around $10 million each in the consortium to fund the development of the stablecoin.

However, seven of the 28 initial members, including most of the payment firms, backtracked as they did not want to be publicly seen to be backing the project, fearing regulatory scrutiny.

The companies who withdrew support for the project include Visa, MasterCard, PayPal, Stripe, eBay, and Booking Holdings. PayU was the only payments firm left in the association. Telecom giant Vodafone became the eighth firm to pull out of the Libra Association last month.

The member organizations who have already signed onto the Libra Association charter include Coinbase, Lyft, Spotify, PayU, Xapo, Anchorage, Kiva Microfunds, Andreessen Horowitz, Uber and Calibra, which is a Facebook subsidiary formed to run the Libra network, powered by blockchain technology.

The Libra project has been raising many serious concerns regarding privacy, money laundering, consumer protection and financial stability. Apart from being subject to significant regulatory and political scrutiny in the U.S., France and Germany also have recently pledged to block Libra from operating in Europe.

The news about Facebook's planned cryptocurrency had come in early March 2019. In May, there were also reports about the social media giant's plan to launch the cryptocurrency-based payments in many countries by the first quarter of 2020. Facebook then confirmed in June its plans to launch cryptocurrency Libra in 2020.

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