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Facebook's Diem Association shifts its focus to the US

It has withdrawn its application for a Swiss payment license.

Prague, Czech Republic - June 18, 2019: Golden ripple, bitcoin and ethereum coins lying on homepage of Facebook launching digital wallet Calibra and cryptocurrency Libra on June 18, 2019 in Prague, Czech Republic.
josefkubes via Getty Images
Mariella Moon
Mariella Moon|@mariella_moon|May 13, 2021 7:20 AM

The Facebook-backed Diem Association has revealed its plans to launch a stablecoin backed by the US dollar as it shifts its focus to the United States. Formerly known as Facebook's Libra Association, Diem was supposed to create a single stablecoin backed by a number of global currencies. After facing a ton of pushback from regulators around the world, though, the association changed its plans and decided to build a payment network wherein coins are tied to a variety of local currencies. Now, Diem is scaling back its plans even further and has withdrawn its application for a Swiss payment license from Switzerland's FINMA financial regulator.

Diem previously said that it wouldn't launch until it gets FINMA's blessing, but that's clearly no longer the case. It has moved its primary operations from Switzerland to Washington, DC and has teamed up with California-based Silvergate Bank. Silvergate will be the exclusive issuer of the Diem USD stablecoin and will run its blockchain-based payment system. The move is a huge step towards launching Diem USD's pilot, which CNBC says could happen later this year. Diem is expected to launch a small—scale pilot focusing on transactions between individual consumers.

Diem CEO Stuart Levy said that while the association no longer requires a license from FINMA, "the project has benefited greatly from the intensive licensing process in Switzerland and the constructive feedback from FINMA and more than two dozen other regulatory authorities from around the world."

Facebook's Diem Association shifts its focus to the US