In less than a week, the Facebook-led Libra Association has lost the support of PayPal, while Visa, Mastercard, and Stripe are also rethinking their participation amid more scrutiny from US regulators. And now, its Chief Product Officer Simon Morris is leaving in the shadow of a backlash from many governments’ authorities.
The departure of the executive comes barely five months after he originally joined the startup, which aims to drag cryptocurrencies into the mainstream, back in April.
Morris came to Libra from online real estate investment marketplace RealtyShares with nearly two decades of tech experience under his belt. Prior to that, he was BitTorrent’s media general manager, where he led several of the peer-to-peer file sharing platform’s divisions.
During his tenure as BitTorrent, Morris also acted as the Vice President of Marketing and Products, Vice President of Data Science and Senior Vice President of Products, User Experience, and Data. The tech veteran also filled similar roles with Openwave Systems and Verisign.
At the time, Libra Association said the recruitment of Morris was crucial to the company’s strategy for tech and product development. His extensive background in tech made him well-suited to tackle the demands of the new global cryptocurrency.
Libra loses backers
Morris is the first senior exec to withdraw from Libra after the media reported that PayPal would terminate any further participation in the association while Visa and Mastercard are considering pulling out of the project.
Facebook said in its second-quarter earnings report that its proposed cryptocurrency might never actually see its planned 2020 rollout. The reasons for FB’s seemingly impossible task are regulatory hurdles and lobbyist blockades that may interfere with its plan to create the first widely adopted version of digital money.
Libra has already caused quite a stir among regulators and politicians across the world. Along with the difficulties with current regulations, the Federal Reserve expressed concerns about the consequences it would bring, while President Trump and Congress members have asked for a moratorium on the development of the cryptocurrency until more is known.