Attempting to signal its popularity despite high-profile defections from Visa, Stripe and more, the Facebook-led cryptocurrency Libra Association announced that 1,500 organizations have expressed interest in joining the Libra project — 180 of those meet eligibility requirements to become members, which could replace the seven companies that dropped out of the Association this month, including Kayak owner Bookings Holdings today.
This new crop of potential recruits could help the Libra Association reach its 100-member goal ahead of a scheduled 2020 launch that looks likely to be delayed by intense regulator pushback.
The announcement came out of the first official meeting of the Libra Association today in Geneva, Switzerland. The group appointed its board of directors: Facebook’s head of its cryptocurrency Calibra team David Marcus, Andreessen Horowitz’s Katie Haun, Xapo’s Wences Casares, Kiva Microfunds’ Matthew Davie and PayU’s Patrick Ellis. Marcus’ inclusion should be no surprise, given he’s been the public face of Libra, even though his former company PayPal pulled out of the Association. Marcus writes that he’s “honored to have been voted in.”
Another former PayPal’er, Bertrand Perez, was formally named the Libra Association’s COO and interim managing director after unofficially holding these titles. The former senior director of payments engineering at PayPal is now also the chairperson of Libra’s five-member board and full-membership council. “We have no vocation to play the pirates,” he told news outlet Revyuh last month, noting “if, for example, the European Central Bank still refuses us the right to operate in Europe, we will not do it, we do not intend to play the pirates, we respect the legislation.”
Libra’s head of communications and policy Dante Disparte, formerly of Risk Cooperative, and head of business development Kurt Hemecker, formerly of Zong, had their roles confirmed too.
The remaining Libra Association members listed below signed the Libra charter. They’ve agreed that members can leave for any reason, and with some restrictions transfer their membership plus $10 million in Libra Investment Tokens stake to another eligible organization.
- Payments: PayU (Naspers’ fintech arm)
- Technology and marketplaces: Facebook/Calibra, Farfetch, Lyft, Spotify AB, Uber Technologies, Inc.
- Telecommunications: Iliad, Vodafone Group
- Blockchain: Anchorage, Bison Trails, Coinbase, Inc., Xapo Holdings Limited
- Venture Capital: Andreessen Horowitz, Breakthrough Initiatives, Ribbit Capital, Thrive Capital, Union Square Ventures
- Nonprofit and multilateral organizations, and academic institutions: Creative Destruction Lab, Kiva, Mercy Corps, Women’s World Banking
- No Longer Members: Visa, Mastercard, PayPal, Stripe, Booking Holdings, eBay, Mercado Pago
The Libra Association did not announce any changes in strategy or other plans that could help the organization assuage regulators’ fears. One path suggested by Libra Association member Andreessen Horowitz’s partner Chris Dixon was to move to Libra being denominated in U.S. dollars rather than being pegged to a basket of international currencies. That might quiet concerns about Libra potentially competing directly with the U.S. dollar.
This leaves the reveal of the 180 potential members as the biggest news from the meeting. A Libra Association spokesperson writes:
Since the Libra project was announced on June 18th, 2019, it has generated excitement around the world. the Libra Association confirmed that over 1,500 entities have indicated interest in joining the Libra project effort, and approximately 180 entities have met the preliminary membership criteria shared at Libra.org.”
Those requirements include businesses hitting two of three thresholds of a $1 billion USD market value or $500 million in customer balances, reaching 20 million people a year or being recognized as a top 100 industry leader. There are other criteria for cryptocurrencies businesses, nonprofits and universities.
However, we don’t have information on when the interest of those 1,500 potential partners was tallied. The withdrawal of Mastercard, PayPal and more, comments from regulators intent on blocking the currency and Marcus’ tense questioning on Capitol Hill could have since scared off some would-be allies.
Marcus and Perez face an uphill battle to get Libra to market. Not only do they have to prove it’s safeguarded against fraud, money laundering and hurting sovereign currencies, they also must tangle with the toxic brand Facebook has developed over the years. Legislators who feel like the social network is too big are seizing on their second chance to constrain it with Libra.
Google December Product Reviews Update Affects More Than English Language Sites? via @sejournal, @martinibuster
Google’s Product Reviews update was announced to be rolling out to the English language. No mention was made as to if or when it would roll out to other languages. Mueller answered a question as to whether it is rolling out to other languages.
Google December 2021 Product Reviews Update
On December 1, 2021, Google announced on Twitter that a Product Review update would be rolling out that would focus on English language web pages.
Our December 2021 product reviews update is now rolling out for English-language pages. It will take about three weeks to complete. We have also extended our advice for product review creators: https://t.co/N4rjJWoaqE
— Google Search Central (@googlesearchc) December 1, 2021
The focus of the update was for improving the quality of reviews shown in Google search, specifically targeting review sites.
A Googler tweeted a description of the kinds of sites that would be targeted for demotion in the search rankings:
“Mainly relevant to sites that post articles reviewing products.
Think of sites like “best TVs under $200″.com.
Goal is to improve the quality and usefulness of reviews we show users.”
Continue Reading Below
Google also published a blog post with more guidance on the product review update that introduced two new best practices that Google’s algorithm would be looking for.
The first best practice was a requirement of evidence that a product was actually handled and reviewed.
The second best practice was to provide links to more than one place that a user could purchase the product.
The Twitter announcement stated that it was rolling out to English language websites. The blog post did not mention what languages it was rolling out to nor did the blog post specify that the product review update was limited to the English language.
Google’s Mueller Thinking About Product Reviews Update
Product Review Update Targets More Languages?
The person asking the question was rightly under the impression that the product review update only affected English language search results.
Continue Reading Below
But he asserted that he was seeing search volatility in the German language that appears to be related to Google’s December 2021 Product Review Update.
This is his question:
“I was seeing some movements in German search as well.
So I was wondering if there could also be an effect on websites in other languages by this product reviews update… because we had lots of movement and volatility in the last weeks.
…My question is, is it possible that the product reviews update affects other sites as well?”
John Mueller answered:
“I don’t know… like other languages?
My assumption was this was global and and across all languages.
But I don’t know what we announced in the blog post specifically.
But usually we try to push the engineering team to make a decision on that so that we can document it properly in the blog post.
I don’t know if that happened with the product reviews update. I don’t recall the complete blog post.
But it’s… from my point of view it seems like something that we could be doing in multiple languages and wouldn’t be tied to English.
And even if it were English initially, it feels like something that is relevant across the board, and we should try to find ways to roll that out to other languages over time as well.
So I’m not particularly surprised that you see changes in Germany.
But I also don’t know what we actually announced with regards to the locations and languages that are involved.”
Does Product Reviews Update Affect More Languages?
While the tweeted announcement specified that the product reviews update was limited to the English language the official blog post did not mention any such limitations.
Google’s John Mueller offered his opinion that the product reviews update is something that Google could do in multiple languages.
One must wonder if the tweet was meant to communicate that the update was rolling out first in English and subsequently to other languages.
It’s unclear if the product reviews update was rolled out globally to more languages. Hopefully Google will clarify this soon.
Google Blog Post About Product Reviews Update
Google’s New Product Reviews Guidelines
John Mueller Discusses If Product Reviews Update Is Global
Watch Mueller answer the question at the 14:00 Minute Mark
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