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Facebook’s Cryptocurrency Project Head Departs Company

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Facebook’s cryptocurrency project is still in limbo as the social media giant takes different approaches to ensure its survival. However, while it is currently facing a battle with regulators and lawmakers, Libra is also losing a significant number of backers.

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Yesterday, tech news source TechCrunch reported that Morgan Beller, who has been serving as the Head of Strategy at Libra’s digital wallet arm Novi, has left her post at the company. Per the report, the tech professional will be taking on a new role as a general partner with the San Francisco-based venture capital firm NFX. 

Per the report, Beller first got acquainted with NFX five years back, while she worked as a partner at fellow venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. She developed an affinity for cryptocurrencies along the line, and when she joined Facebook in 2017, she soon convinced the bigwigs there to pursue Libra. 

Speaking to TechCrunch, Beller explained: 

“Crypto is a mental virus for which there is no cure. I was at a16z when they got infected with the crypto virus.”

On her crypto journey at Facebook, Beller explained that she saw that the company wasn’t working on a full-time crypto project. So, she took it upon herself to bring the crypto revolution to the Silicon Valley giant. 

Shortly after Facebook released the Libra whitepaper last year, a CNBC article noted that Beller was one of the project’s primary driving forces. At a point, she was credited to being the only member of the social media giant’s blockchain initiative. However, she didn’t explain why she was leaving the project that she passionately fought for. 

Regardless, Beller explained that she believed NFX would be her opportunity to work on her true passion. As she explained, her time in the tech space made her realize that she primarily wanted to work on taking companies from zero to one. Given that this is venture capital’s primary point, a career in the field made things all the more perfect for her.

Libra Releases General Counsel 

The 27-year-old is the second top Libra official to exit the company in the last month. Late in August, industry news sources confirmed that Facebook had released Robert Werner, its general counsel. 

Werner is a former Director for the Finance Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). He has also served at the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), and as senior counsel to The Under Secretary of The Treasury. The Libra Association hired him back in May, kicking off what appeared to have been a regulator-friendly approach to smoothen the social media giant’s relationship with lawmakers.  

As for his reason for leaving, Werner explained that his continued service with Libra would mean him relinquishing his seat on the boards of directors for Deutsche Bank Trust Co. He chose to stick with the latter firm. 

The Libra Association replaced Werner with Stevan Bunnel, former general counsel for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Before his Libra appointment, Bunnel co-chaired the data privacy-focused legal practice O’Melveny & Myer.

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