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Booking Holdings Is Latest Backer To Bail On Libra

Booking Holdings Latest Backer To Bail On Libra

Online travel firm Booking Holdings is the latest Libra Association member to jump ship on the cryptocurrency project proposed by Facebook, Bloomberg reported on Monday (Oct. 14).

Connecticut-based Booking Holdings – known best for operating Kayak.com and Priceline.com — joins Visa, Mastercard, PayPal, eBay, MercadoLibre and Stripe in departing from the project.

Dante Disparte, head of policy and communications for the Libra Association, said in a statement to CNBC that the group plans to move forward.

The Libra Association has a meeting at its headquarters in Geneva today (Oct. 14) to confirm membership. In addition, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is testifying on Oct. 23 at the House Financial Services Committee.

Membership was originally made up of 28 founding members, but the total continues to dwindle amid widespread scrutiny from regulators worldwide. There are 22 companies remaining in the consortium behind the would-be cryptocurrency that seeks to remake the global financial system, fostering financial inclusion on a global scale for more than one billion individuals.

The question remains, of course: Who, if anyone, will – or even can – fill the vacuum created by the exodus of marquee names, vital not just for Libra’s legitimacy, but crucial to its very operation?

The Geneva meeting comes on the heels of a bad day on Friday (Oct. 11) that saw a mass exodus of Libra members, with five firms dropping out.

The companies attending the meeting are expected to commit to Libra, and it is assumed that this means making a financial commitment as well – to the tune of $10 million per firm, which is expected to shepherd the Libra coin into existence and to back the basket of reserve currencies to underpin the coin.

There is also the financial hit that comes with the six members backing out. Since they were each expected to pony up $10 million each, that means $60 million is gone from Libra’s financial backing.

When Libra was announced in June, it was hoping to have 100 member companies on board for a 2020 launch.

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