Facebook’s Libra Adds Singapore-based Temasek
Image Credit: Pixabay
  • The Libra Association has added three new members – Singapore investor Temasek, and VC firms Slow Ventures and Paradigm.
  • Temasek boasts of a $313 billion portfolio of investments in financial services companies including Virtu, Standard Chartered, and MasterCard. 
  • This new announcement comes after the company endured months of regulatory scrutiny which resulted in a slew of high-profile exits.

The past few months have been rough for The Libra Association after high-profile members such as Mastercard, Visa and PayPal dropped out of the network. This was because the firm was criticized by lawmakers and regulators over its inability and complacent attitude towards protecting users’ data.

However, things seem to be getting better for the Switzerland-based consortium. Libra Association, the group overseeing cryptocurrency project Libra, has added Singapore investor, Temasek to its list of members. 

With a portfolio of investments worth more than $300 billion, the government-backed firm will be a value-addition for the project, especially after the crypto initiative experienced intense scrutiny from regulators. 

In a press release, the Libra Association said the being a Singapore-based firm, the onboarding of Temasek will bring with it diversity and, in addition, “will contribute to the governance, technological roadmap, and launch readiness for the Libra payment system,” said Dante Disparte, vice chairman and head of policy and communications for the Libra Association. 

“Temasek sees innovative technologies such as blockchain as transformative enablers of growth,” Libra added in the announcement. 

Commenting on this announcement, Chia Song Hwee, the deputy CEO at Temasek, said in a statement:

“Our participation in the Libra Association as a member will allow us to contribute towards a regulated global network for cost effective retail payments. Many developments in the space excite us – we look forward to further exploring the potential of the technology.”

In another interview, Song Hwee told Bloomberg that the firm is already working with regulators to encourage new use cases for blockchain technologies and that by joining Libra, it will aim to create an international network for regulated payments.

Temasek’s new addition is particularly significant as in 2019 Facebook told US government officials that the Singapore dollar, Japanese yen, British pound, euro, and US dollar were likely to be the first bunch of currencies to back Libra, according to a Bloomberg report. 

Other companies joining the Libra Association include Slow Ventures, the private equity firm which backed companies such as Slack, Postmates, and Airtable, and Paradigm, the cryptocurrency investment firm which was co-founded by Coinbase co-founder Fred Ehrsam. Libra Association affirmed that the two San Francisco-based VC firms will “spur long term developments” in its financial payment system.

Read Also: Silicon Valley VC Andreessen Horowitz Raises $515M for Second Crypto Project

Rocky times for social media giant with concerns on privacy

Apart from aforementioned big players backing out from the project, France’s Finance Minister, Bruno Le Maireeven said that Facebook’s proposed digital currency is a risk to consumers and that the project cannot move ahead until privacy concerns were addressed, as reported by The Guardian

“I want to be absolutely clear: in these conditions, we cannot authorize the development of Libra on European soil,” Le Maireeven said at the time.

Elsewhere, regulators from Australia, UK, and Canada jointly called on Facebook to provide information on its Libra project, particularly around how it was going to handle personal information.

Staying committed to launch the crypto Libra

Despite the challenges, the organization has brought in some prominent members this year, including Shopify, Nonprofit Member Heifer International, Checkout.com and cryptocurrency broker Tagomi.

The addition of these three latest corporations brings the total number of firms now backing the Facebook-led Libra to 27.

This is hardly the only change the company has witnessed in the past few weeks. As reported by TechMeru before, the firm unveiled an updated white paper at the end of April, outlining its plan to roll-out a stablecoin backed by fiat currencies such as the euro and U.S. dollar as opposed to its initial plan of launching its own multi-asset backed cryptocurrency. 

Additionally, it also appointed banking giant HSBC’s chief legal officer and former Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, Stuart Levy, to serve as its first CEO who will be starting this summer.