Checkout.com, a London fintech company that specializes in processing payments for e-commerce platforms, is on board with the Libra Association’s mission to bring the Facebook-backed Libra “basketcoin” to the people of the world.
In an announcement post, the CEO explained:
“In the Libra Association, we found a group of peers that share in [our] philosophy and who demonstrated a thoughtful and realistic approach to how blockchain can be leveraged for the greater good. The Libra project holds the promise of increasing financial inclusion for billions of unbanked people, empowering them to participate in the digital economy and reducing disparities.”
The arrival of Checkout.com now puts the Libra Association’s membership at just shy of 25 members. The two dozen organizations that currently comprise the association include major brands like Coinbase, Lyft, Spotify, Uber, and of course Facebook.
An Open Door
Checkout.com isn’t the only newcomer to the Libra Association we’ve seen in April. Earlier this month, the non-profit organization Heifer International — which tackles challenges around poverty and hunger — was also welcomed into Libra’s governing body.
“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,” the Shopify team said at the time.
However, more than a few huge enterprises have left the Libra effort since it was unveiled last summer, too. The last to depart the Libra Association was telecom giant Vodafone, which pulled out in January. Vodafone’s exit came on the heels of other powerhouses like eBay, Mastercard, Paypal, and Stripe having withdrawn in 2019.
The Shifting Libra
When the original Libra whitepaper was first rolled out last year, the project was introduced as a basketcoin, i.e. a stablecoin-like token that would be underpinned by a basket of select fiat currencies rather than the single-currency stablecoins that have dominated in the cryptoeconomy to date.
Notably, though, such a model would mean that the Libra would have a unique floating valuation based on multiple currencies rather than a hard peg to just one. In this sense, the Libra would essentially be a de facto competitor to currencies like the dollar.
The specter of a Facebook-backed digital currency outmaneuvering the world’s top fiat currencies quickly kicked off an explosion of global regulatory backlash that the Libra Association has been contending with ever since.
Last September, the world got its first peak into what the Libra basket could look like when Facebook wrote a letter to U.S. Senators and therein noted Libra would likely be backed by reserves comprised of U.S. dollars, Singapore dollars, the Japanese yen, the British pound, and the euro.
As regulatory pressure continued to mount, the big question was whether Libra’s backers would bend or buckle in response. To that end, earlier this year new reporting suggested the Libra Association was considering scrapping its basketcoin efforts in favor of single-currency stablecoin offerings.
Notably, then, the governing body confirmed this month that it was updating the Libra whitepaper. Per those updates, the Libra Association revealed it was indeed moving toward launching multiple stablecoins around USD, EUR, GBP, and so forth. Accordingly, Libra’s basket offering would now simply be a “digital composite” rather than a token, the whitepaper explained:
“Under this change, ≋LBR will simply be a digital composite of some of the single-currency stablecoins available on the Libra network. It will be defined in terms of fixed nominal weights, such as the Special Drawing Rights (SDR) maintained by the International Money Fund (IMF).”