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Jack Dorsey says ‘hell no’ to joining Libra

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‘It’s not consistent with what I personally believe’

Second Tech For Good Summit At Hotel De Marigny In Paris Photo by Chesnot/Getty Images

Twitter will never join Libra, CEO Jack Dorsey said today at a Twitter media event in New York City. He said “hell no” when asked if he would join and explained that the Facebook-created cryptocurrency initiative didn’t need to be a cryptocurrency to pull of its broader goals of democratizing the financial system. “I don’t know if it’s a gimmick,” Dorsey said, “but a cryptocurrency wasn’t necessary to make that work”

“It’s not an internet open standard that was born on the internet,” Dorsey said. “It was born out of a company’s intention, and it’s not consistent with what I personally believe and what I want our company to stand for.”

At the same time, Dorsey was broadly enthusiastic about more decentralized cryptocurrencies, seeing them as part of an emergent international online community. “I think the internet is somewhat of an emerging nation-state in almost every way,” he told the crowd. “It almost has a currency now in the form of cryptocurrency and bitcoin.”

Facebook’s Libra project has hit a string of setbacks in recent weeks, starting with the abrupt withdrawal of Mastercard, Visa, Stripe, and other payment processors just hours before the Libra Association’s inaugural meeting. That has left the association without a US payment processor, meaning it’s facing an uncertain path to launching in the future.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified in front of Congress yesterday about the company’s goals with Libra, and he faced intense skepticism from lawmakers. He said he wished legislators could separate the cryptocurrency initiative from Facebook, as the company plans to play only a partial role once the broader association is realized. Still, Facebook’s record of privacy breaches has cast a troubling shadow over the nascent payment network.

“Do you understand why this record makes us concerned with Facebook entering the cryptocurrency space?” Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-NY) asked Zuckerberg at the hearing. “Do you realize that you and Facebook have a credibility issue here?”