Libra rebrands to 'Diem' in bid to shake off the negative first impression of regulators

The Facebook-backed Libra Association is shaking up its mission — and it's got a new name to go along with it. 

“We are excited to introduce Diem — a new name that signals the project’s growing maturity and independence,” said Stuart Levey, the Diem Association’s CEO, in a public statement. “The Diem project will provide a simple platform for fintech innovation to thrive and enable consumers and businesses to conduct instantaneous, low-cost, highly secure transactions.” 

In addition to the name change, Diem Association appointed new executives to emphasize “its organizational independence as it progresses toward regulatory approval for launch.” New hirees include Dahlia Malkhi as the Diem’s Chief Technology Officer, Christy Clark as Chief of Staff, Steve Bunnell as Chief Legal Officer, and Kiran Raj as Executive Vice President for Growth and Innovation. 

Libra, which first began as a project under the wing of social media giant Facebook, turned the heads of policymakers and regulators around the world when it launched in the summer of 2019. But the view among regulators were broadly negative, prompting questions from members of Congress as well as central banks. 


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“The original name was tied to an early iteration of the project that received a difficult reception from regulators. We have dramatically changed that proposition," Stuart Levey, the Diem Association's chief executive, told Reuters.

At the same time, Libra's ascent arguably spurred on digital money projects being pursued by central banks and governments, such as China and the European Union.

Indeed, the revised white paper posted to Diem's website points to such ambitions on the central bank digital currency front:

"[O]ur hope is that as central banks develop central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), these CBDCs could be directly integrated with the Libra network, removing the need for Libra Networks to manage theassociated Reserves, thus reducing credit and custody risk. As an example, if a central bank develops a digital representation of the US dollar, euro, or British pound, the Association could replace the applicable single-currency stablecoin with the CBDC."

With the new team in place, the Diem Association plans to prioritize its readiness for launch. It says it will only proceed upon getting regulatory approval, which involves a FINMA-approved payment systems license.

About Author

MK Manoylov has been a reporter for The Block since 2020 — joining just before bitcoin surpassed $20,000 for the first time. Since then, MK has written nearly 1,000 articles for the publication, covering any and all crypto news but with a penchant toward NFT, metaverse, web3 gaming, funding, crime, hack and crypto ecosystem stories. MK holds a graduate degree from New York University's Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program (SHERP) and has also covered health topics for WebMD and Insider. You can follow MK on X @MManoylov and on LinkedIn.