Facebook should not be spearheading the libra cryptocurrency project, according to a co-founder of the Ethereum blockchain.
“I’m a big fan of projects like Libra,” Joseph Lubin told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Tuesday. “I don’t believe that Facebook … with the concerns that we have with respect to trust and personal identity in Facebook, should be driving that project.”
Lubin, who also founded blockchain company Consensys, said libra “suffers from its greatest asset” — the Menlo Park, California-based social media giant itself.
Unveiled in June, Project Libra was originally introduced along with a list of prominent corporate backers. Since then, it has faced skepticism and scrutiny from regulators, amid concerns over the entrance of Facebook into the financial services space, given the firm’s many reported missteps in handling personal data.
To be sure, Facebook will not have unilateral control over libra. Instead, the cryptocurrency will be governed by its panel of backers, which includes Facebook as a member.
In October, libra suffered a major setback when major payments firms such as Visa, Mastercard, Stripe and PayPal pulled their support for the project. The exodus preceded the Libra Association’s inaugural meeting, during which Facebook and 20 other members signed the council’s charter.
For his part, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in late October the company “will not be part of launching the libra payments system anywhere in the world until U.S. regulators approve.”
In the event that the Libra Association voted to move ahead without regulatory approval, Zuckerberg said Facebook “would be forced to leave” the project.
“My only hope for them to actually launch Libra was to launch it in a bunch of small-and-medium sized nations and bide their time and eventually, launch it in European … and the American nation that are resistant,” Lubin said.
Still, Lubin remained optimistic over the outlook for so-called “stablecoins” — cryptocurrencies that are backed by reserve assets.
“We’ll see many Libra-like projects going forward with different kinds of price-stable currencies offered,” Lubin said.