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Facebook's Libra may look to multiple digital coins based on national currencies

David Marcus, Facebook's blockchain boss, reportedly says the main goal is creating a more efficient payments system.

Facebook currency Libra

Facebook and its partners plan to launch Libra in 2020. 

Kay Nietfeld/picture alliance via Getty Images

Facebook is apparently weighing some options for Libra, its ambitious but controversial cryptocurrency project, following mounting criticism from politicians and regulators. David Marcus, Facebook's blockchain boss, on Sunday reportedly said there could be alternative approaches to the digital coin, including using multiple cryptocurrencies based on national currencies such as the US dollar.

"We could do it differently," Marcus said during a banking seminar, according to Reuters. "Instead of having a synthetic unit ... we could have a series of stablecoins, a dollar stablecoin, a euro stablecoin, a sterling pound stable coin, etc."

Marcus said having multiple "stablecoins that represent national currencies" is one option for Libra that should be considered, but added that he wasn't suggesting this was the group's new preferred direction, according to Reuters. He reportedly said the main goal is creating a more efficient payments system.

The Libra Association, the nonprofit overseeing the project, on Monday said it has no new position to share at the moment. 

"We have a long launch runway by design and are actively engaged with regulators and policymakers around the world," said Dante Disparte, head of policy and communications for the Libra Association, in an emailed statement. "Our goal is a digital payment system that replicates or exceeds current standards for consumer protection, financial stability, and the prevention of money laundering and illicit finance -- while preserving national sovereignty over monetary policy."

Libra took a hit earlier this month as several of founding members of the Libra Association dropped out, including PayPal, eBay, Stripe, Visa and Mastercard. The departures come amid mounting criticism of the Libra project, which was unveiled in June and immediately met skepticism from politicians, regulators and nonprofits.

Facebook declined to comment.

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Originally published Oct. 21, 7:51 a.m. PT.
Update, 11:38 a.m. PT: Adds comment from the Libra Association.