Temasek Holdings, the commercial investment company owned by the government of Singapore, announced yesterday that they will be taking part in project Libra. The Singapore state investor joins private equity firm Slow Ventures and crypto investor Paradigm as new members of the Libra Association initiative.
The Libra Association is an independent group that has been tasked to manage the upcoming global digital currency, which is best known for being backed by Facebook. Libra is a permissioned blockchain digital currency, which was expected to launch in 2020.
Facebook revealed libra in 2019, touting it as an alternative global digital payment system. Its key innovation is that each token would be backed by several fiat currencies. After being announced, Libra faced significant backlash from regulators around the world. Government officials and pundits alike were critical about the possibility of giving Facebook control over people’s money, especially given the company’s privacy scandals.
The odds of Libra altering the financial system and disrupting central banks is less of a concern now that several of the world’s biggest payment companies have resigned from the project. Household names including Visa, MasterCard, and PayPal are no longer involved in Libra. With a value of approximately $219 billion, Temasek Holdings in now among the biggest backers of Libra. Checkout.com, which is a payments start-up from the United Kingdom, joined the project last month.
Yesterday the Libra Association said, “Temasek brings a differentiated position as an Asia-focused investor.”
Temasek Deputy CEO Chia Song Hwee released a statement noting, “Our participation in the Libra Association as a member will allow us to contribute towards a regulated global network for cost effective retail payments. Many developments in the space excite us – we look forward to further exploring the potential of the technology.”
More information about the Libra project can be found at libra.org.