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Vodafone withdraws from Facebook's Libra payments network

Vodafone Group PLC is stepping back from Facebook Inc.'s Libra Association, becoming the eighth member of the group to abandon the cryptocurrency project, CoinDesk reported Jan. 21, citing a statement from a Libra representative.

The U.K.-based telecom operator will instead put the resources it had planned for Libra into its digital payment service M-Pesa.

Vodafone's exit follows the withdrawal of Visa Inc., Mastercard Inc., Stripe Inc. and eBay Inc., among others, in late 2019. Intended to launch in 2020, Facebook's digital coin has been under scrutiny from regulators who have called on the company to stop work on Libra.

"Although the makeup of the Association members may change over time, the design of Libra's governance and technology ensures the Libra payment system will remain resilient," Dante Disparte, head of policy and communication with the Libra Association, told CoinDesk.

In October 2019, CEO Mark Zuckerberg attempted to assure legislators about Facebook's commitment to security and privacy with regards to Libra, depicting the project as key to ensuring U.S. leadership in the global movement toward digital payments.