Crypto prime brokerage Tagomi has joined the Libra Association to help bring institutional capital into the digital asset ecosystem and further Libra's ambition to reach billions of people globally.
"Everyone is trying to figure out 'how can we contribute to this mission,'" said Tagomi president and founder Marc Bhargava. "For us really it's trying to take a lot of this technology stack we've already built and support the mission however we can."
Tagomi is a New York-based crypto brokerage focused on institutional investors across 30 countries; it's a provider of financial infrastructure built to help clients engage with digital assets in a way they typically don't in the world of hedge funds and private equity.
"We've worked with regulators in multiple jurisdictions," Bhargava added. "For the last two years, we have been actively engaged and for the last year actively trading in dozens of countries. The experience we have with regulators, helping educate them on blockchain, on digital assets, is certainly something we hope to bring to the Association."
The news comes days after the e-commerce giant Shopify announced it joined the Association, the Switzerland-based governing council for the digital currency project first put forth by Facebook last summer. While the group was designed to decentralize the leadership around a new global currency that many regulators worry would destabilize the global financial system, more than half of the Libra Association members employ former Facebook executives, have boards that include Facebook board members, and/or have multiple ties to Facebook through common investors.
Tagomi CEO Jennifer Campbell is a former investor at Union Square Ventures, which is also a member of the Libra Association.
Other current members of the Association include Coinbase, Xapo, Anchorage, Bison Trails, Andreessen Horowitz, Thrive Capital, Ribbit Capital, Union Square Ventures, Uber, Lyft, Kiva, Mercy Corps, Women's World Banking, Spotify, PayU, and Mark Zuckerberg's Breakthrough Initiatives.
In November founding members of the Association including Visa, Mastercard, Stripe, PayPal, eBay, Booking Holdings, Mercado Pago, and Vodafone exited en masse as U.S. and European regulators slammed the Facebook-led project for its potential to compete with government-issued currency, facilitate money laundering, and intrude on consumer privacy.
"It's very early for the Libra Association and the Libra project. It's quite natural to see new members joining, other members may be coming back or leaving more permanently," Bhargava said.
"The largest challenge is just the ambition of it," he added. "The interest is not necessarily for Libra or the Libra Association to be in one country or one jurisdiction but to touch billions of people and operate across multiple jurisdictions. Being able to string together and be compliant in many different jurisdictions with multinational transactions is a huge challenge."
Libra was initially introduced as a stablecoin that would launch in 2020 and be backed by a basket of fiat currencies but is now considering a U.S. dollar-backing instead, according to a report last month by The Block.
"Everyone should be able to have payments easily, quickly, across borders; payments should also turn into banking," Bhargava said. "General financial infrastructure has been lacking as the internet has spread quickly, as social networks have spread quickly. Some of the utilization of that should be in financial infrastructure, and we haven't seen that today."
Bhargava said he doesn't know if Libra is still set to launch this year but that he hasn't heard of a potential delay in the launch.
Tagomi's membership in the association, which requires a minimum $10 million investment, lets it operate as a validator node, one of the members that decide which transactions get added to the Libra blockchain and allows it one vote on the Libra Association council. It can also earn dividends from interest earned on the Libra reserve.