Amid increasing regulatory scrutiny, Facebook’s cryptocurrency initiative continues to lose major backers.
Bookings Holdings -- which operates Priceline.com, Kayak.com, and other travel sites -- just withdrew its membership from Facebook’s so-called Libra Association.
By the Association’s count, that reduces its membership to 21 -- down from the 28 companies who originally signed on to the cryptocurrency project.
Earlier this month, sources told The Wall Street Journal that Visa, Mastercard, PayPal Holding, and Stripe were all leaning toward leaving the Association.
Again according to The Journal, many of the partners felt that Facebook has failed to sufficiently soothe concerns among regulators.
Since its unveiling in June, Libra has been a lightning rod for legislators.
Led by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee, Congress formally requested that Facebook suspend development of its blockchain strategy in July.
In an effort to reassure Libra’s remaining partners, Mark Zuckerberg just agreed to testify before the House Financial Services Committee on Oct. 23.
Facebook’s cofounder-CEO is expected to be the sole witness at the hearing, which the Committee has entitled, “An Examination of Facebook and Its Impact on the Financial Services and Housing Sectors.”
For its part, the Association says its future is brighter than ever.
Just this week, its existing 21 members formally signed onto the Libra Association charter, formalized the Libra Association council, elected its board of directors, and appointed members of the Libra Association executive team.
Notable charter members include venture capital firm (and longtime Facebook investor) Andreessen Horowitz, Spotify AB, Vodafone, and Lyft, Inc.By its own account, the Association also says that around 1,500 companies have expressed interest as signing on as members – 180 of which have met preliminary membership criteria.