This summer, when Mark Zuckerberg announced Libra, Facebook’s cryptocurrency project, it managed to generate a lot of buzz. And this happened for two main reasons: it would’ve been a coin created by the world’s biggest social network, totally integrated it its ecosystem, not to mention that it received a lot of support from some top companies.
Among some of the biggest names who signed to be part of The Libra Association were Coinbase, Visa, MasterCard or PayPal. But the latter didn’t last that much.
PayPal had other plans
Back in October, the payments processor was the first company to walk away of the Association, without mentioning a specific reason. At that time, their only argument was that they have decided to “continue to focus on advancing their existing mission and business priorities”, in their attempt to “democratize access to financial services for underserved populations”.
But PayPal CEO Dan Schulman wanted to make things clear about the company’s relationship with Libra, as well as his own work in the cryptocurrency realm, in an interview for Fortune.
It appears that in the first place, the entire PayPal team was enthusiastic about what Libra means, as the project was presented “in ways that were appealing about financial inclusion”.
Considering that the payment processor is constantly exploring new technologies, including blockchain, there was an interest in Libra, so they decided to back it up. But, eventually, they figured out that it had its flaws and there were a lot of things that needed extra attention.
“As we learned more about [Libra] and saw the amount of things that were still left to do and the amount of things we still had to do on our own roadmap outside of Libra, we said, ‘You know, we think if we focus on our own roadmap, we’d be able to advance financial inclusion faster than if we put all these resources against Libra,’” Schulman revealed.
Exploring the possibilities
However, this doesn’t mean that PayPal will be completely ignoring cryptocurrency projects. The company is still interested in Facebook’s plans and is considering re-joining the project in the future if the interest in a new partnership will be mutual.
On the other side, PayPal also has its own teams working on blockchain and cryptocurrency projects. Not necessarily competitive with Libra, as Dan Schulman admitted, without giving additional details.
“We think there’s a lot of promise to blockchain technology. It’s intriguing to us, but it really needs to do something that the traditional rails can’t do,” he believes.
For Facebook, PayPal’s withdrawal was definitely a big hit, especially considering that it was one of the biggest backers of the project. And in cryptocurrency, it’s all about partnerships and names you’re connected to, at least in an early stage of a coin’s development.
Nevertheless, we’re talking about a project made by Facebook which, despite not having the same amount of partners it had in the first place, has all the chances to become a huge success!