Blockchain Capital joins Libra Association

Leading VC joins the would-be stablecoin creator, adding a badly needed boost after a summer of rebuilding

Venture capital firm Blockchain Capital announced today that it has joined the Libra Association, providing the Facebook-founded stablecoin creator with a badly needed win after a summer of rebuilding.

Saying the firm believes “deeply in the mission of creating a more equitable payment system,” Blockchain Capital Co-founder and Managing Partner Bart Stephens added that using “blockchain technology to improve financial access and promote innovation has been at the core of Blockchain Capital’s portfolio strategy.” 

One of the leading VCs in the blockchain and cryptocurrency space, Blockchain Capital’s portfolio includes more than 70 companies, including Coinbase, Kraken, Ripple, Anchorage, and Bison Trails. 

It will be the 27th member of the governing Libra Association, which launched in June 2019 with a goal of recruiting 100 members to launch a global stablecoin. Instead, fierce pushback from governments, central bankers and financial regulators around the globe saw a number of Libra’s highest-profile members, including Mastercard, Visa, and PayPal withdraw.

In April, the Libra Association radically overhauled the project, moving from a single, cash-backed global stablecoin that would be instantly usable by Facebook’s 2.7 billion customers to a series of national stablecoins like the American LibraUSD and European LibraEUR. These would use smart contracts to back a global Libra payment token.

Focus on leadership

Since then, the association has focused on building up a high-powered leadership, focusing on executives with deep expertise in both finance and regulatory enforcement.

The Libra Association’s newest leadership team member, James Emmett (Photo: Libra Association)

This included CEO Stuart Levey, who served as Chief Legal Officer of HSBC bank, as well as under secretary of the treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence during the Bush and Obama Administrations.

He was followed by Sterling Danes as chief compliance officer, with experience as head of financial crime compliance at Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs; Steve Bunnell as chief legal officer, with experience at the U.S. Attorney’s office and U.S. Department of Homeland Security; and Robert Werner, the former head of the U.S. Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network as general counsel.

The most recent addition, on Sept. 17, was James Emmett, appointed managing director of Libra Networks. 

A former COO of HSBC and head of its UK and European operations, Emmett said he is “passionate about the opportunities for financial services and technology to make a real difference.”

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Leo Jakobson, Modern Consensus editor-in-chief, is a New York-based journalist who has traveled the world writing about incentive travel. He has also covered consumer and employee engagement, small business, the East Coast side of the Internet boom and bust, and New York City crime, nightlife, and politics. Disclosure: Jakobson has put some 401k money into Grayscale Bitcoin Trust.