Facebook's Libra Association added a new member after shedding several partners in its ambition to create a new cryptocurrency.
E-commerce company Shopify announced Friday it will join the independent collective created by Facebook. Shopify said in a press release that its decision is part of its effort "to make commerce better in parts of the world where money and banking could be far better."
Libra Association leaders have touted the project as a way to make a reliable form of currency available and transferable around the world, particularly in underdeveloped and underbanked communities — a claim lawmakers poked holes in during an October hearing with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Shopify's new membership follows a slew of defections from the Libra Association in the months since its unveiling in 2019. Payments companies were among the first to drop their membership after U.S. lawmakers called on executives from Visa, MasterCard and Stripe to assess the risks that could come with the project, citing Facebook's spotty history in protecting consumer's data. All three companies stepped back from the Libra Association and would be joined by PayPal, eBay, Booking Holdings, Mercado Pago and Vodafone.
The project still faces skepticism from regulators around the world. Over a series of congressional hearings last year, lawmakers grilled Facebook executives on their willingness to comply with relevant U.S. agencies and asked for assurances that the libra cryptocurrency would not weaken the U.S. dollar.
Zuckerberg told the House Financial Services Committee in October that Facebook would leave the Libra Association if it decided to launch the payments system before obtaining U.S. regulatory approval. But he stopped short of agreeing to a moratorium on the project while Congress determines the appropriate steps forward.