Apple CEO Tim Cook had some choice words when asked about Facebook’s controversial blockchain project Libra, with the chief executive openly characterizing the company’s plans to launch a cryptocurrency as a blatant power grab. The company doesn’t cite a specific reason, saying only in a statement to The Verge that it decided “to forgo further participation in the Libra Association at this time and to continue to focus on advancing our existing mission and business priorities as we strive to democratize access to financial services for underserved populations.”
“We remain supportive of Libra’s aspirations and look forward to continued dialogue on ways to work together in the future,” the statement continues. “Facebook has been a longstanding and valued strategic partner to PayPal, and we will continue to partner with and support Facebook in various capacities.”Facebook has fashioned Libra as a way to build out next-generation blockchain technology and help people in developing countries gain access to banking services. It also tried to assuage fears it was assuming too much control by forming the nonprofit association, of which Mastercard and Visa are a part, and giving itself only one vote of 28.
Cook’s opinions appear to align with those of many organizations and prominent figures who’ve balked at the notion of a corporate-controlled currency. Since its unveiling in June of this year, Facebook and Libra have faced immense scrutiny from business executives, activists, regulators, and politicians from all over the world. Now, with PayPal withdrawing support for the Libra Association, the cryptocurrency’s prospects for getting off the ground in a timely manner, or maybe ever, are not looking great.