Banking News

Shopify joins Facebook’s Libra stablecoin

libra

Today ecommerce platform Shopify announced it is joining the Libra Association, the blockchain and stablecoin organization initiated by Facebook. Shopify provides an online storefront to more than a million businesses globally. The Canadian firm says it wants to make commerce better in other parts of the world. It believes this can be helped by making money and banking far better.

In a blog post, the firm said: “Our mission has always been to support the entrepreneurial journey of the more than one million merchants on our platform. That means advocating for transparent fees and easy access to capital, and ensuring the security and privacy of our merchants’ customer data. We want to create an infrastructure that empowers more entrepreneurs around the world.”

The Libra Association responded by saying: “As a commerce platform helping launch & grow 1 million+ businesses, they will be a valuable partner in bringing financial inclusion to those who need it most.” 

Some have questioned Libra’s financial inclusion credentials including Ajay Banga, the CEO of former Libra member Mastercard, who told the Financial Times: “It went from this altruistic idea into their own wallet. I’m like: ‘this doesn’t sound right’.” Banga also had concerns over anti-money laundering and the business model.

In an announcement earlier this week, the Financial Stability Board set out a plan of action to makes recommendations to the G20 about regulating stablecoins. It sees addressing international payment challenges as part of the same conversation.

This is the first announcement of a new Libra Association member since the idea was unveiled last June. Since then, in the face of regulatory pressure, many of the financial and more established entities have withdrawn. The latest was Vodafone last month, and the others include PayPalVisa, Mastercard, Stripe, eBay, Mercado Pago, and Booking.com.

In the meantime, Libra is forging ahead and recently created a technical committee and formed subsidiaries.

Libra’s website now shows the following remaining members:

Payments: PayU (Naspers’ fintech arm)
Technology and marketplaces: Facebook/Calibra, Farfetch, Lyft, Spotify AB, Uber Technologies, Inc.
Telecommunications: Iliad
Blockchain: Anchorage, Bison Trails, Coinbase, Inc., Xapo Holdings Limited
Venture Capital: Andreessen Horowitz, Breakthrough Initiatives, Ribbit Capital, Thrive Capital, Union Square Ventures
Nonprofit and multilateral organizations, and academic institutions: Creative Destruction Lab, Kiva, Mercy Corps, Women’s World Banking