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Is There a Conflict with Facebook Digital Currency?

Facebook digital currency project co-founder leaves.

Kevin Weil has been one of the original creators of the “Facebook Coin,” a project that was announced with fanfare in 2019 and has been mired with uncertainty.

Weil was a Facebook executive and also a leader of Diem, the company’s digital currency initiative, he announced last Thursday that he will be leaving in order to join a satellite firm.

The news seems to be another setback for Facebook’s crypto ambitious, which the company revealed with considerable fanfare last June of 2019 but have since stalled amidst the regulatory headwinds.

A veteran of Twitter, Weil made his name at Facebook by helping to develop Instagram, and then eventually became one of the co-founders of the digital currency project that was formerly known as Libra. He announced his departure on Twitter, saying, “I still deeply believe in that mission.”

Weil’s departure to join a firm named Planet Labs, follows the exit of other prominent executives who had worked on Facebook’s digital currency project.

When Facebook announced Libra, it stated that its goal is to create a new global decentralized currency together with a federation of other companies, together with payment giants Visa and PayPal. But those companies, along with Stripe and Mastercard, soon quit the federation as the Libra project drew negative attention from Congress and regulators.

Ever since then, Facebook has repeatedly delayed the launch date for its digital currency, which was formerly prepared to go live in 2019 but is still not available to the users. The company also had to modify its plans for the currency itself, which Facebook envisioned as a global financial token pegged to a basket of various fiat currencies. Its latest plans have instead focused on creating a series of Stablecoins for use in individual countries.

The decision to rebrand Libra and Calibra as Diem and Novi came last year, and then appeared to be a strategy by Facebook to emphasize that the digital currency projects have been distinct and independent from Facebook itself. The company, which initially proposed for the new currency to be decentralized, also stated last year that the access to the project will be limited to authorized partners.

The measures appeared designed at placating politicians and regulators who have expressed their deep mistrust about what has been referred to as a “Facebook Coin” and warned that the coin can disrupt conventional fiat currencies.

Diem and its remaining members have pressed forward with a testnet, claiming to have processed around 50 million transactions. It is still unclear, though when the currency will be available to Facebook users.

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