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Cryptocurrency linked to Facebook changes name amid backlash

Dec. 1 (UPI) -- The Libra cryptocurrency project Facebook launched in 2019 changed its name Tuesday to get a fresh start.

The association for the cryptocurrency project headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, announced in a press release it was changing its name from Libra Association to Diem Association. The group will now be known as Diem Network, and the digital currency will be called the Diem Dollar, Bloomberg reported.

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Diem, which means "day" in Latin, signals a "new day for the project," the release said.

The name change is also about "reinforcing its organizational independence as it progresses toward regulatory approval for launch" of its first digital coin, according to the release.

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"We like the connotation of it kind of being a new day for the project," Diem Association CEO Stuart Levey told Bloomberg. "We wanted a new start."

"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," Levey added.

Facebook announced the digital wallet for the formerly called Libra network of cryptocurrency to help people send money under the name Calibra in June of last year.

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However, policymakers globally raised concern about the virtual currency disrupting the financial system, potentially risking money laundering and competing with the U.S. dollar. The controversy led to Facebook rebranding its digital wallet that will allow people to send money in a stand-alone app or in messaging platforms like Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp with a new name Novi.

Amid the global controversy, supporters like PayPal and Visa left the project, which has 27 members today, short of its initial goal of 100 members, which it has since abandoned.

The group has also changed its strategy for the stablecoin -- a digital currency pegged to an outside asset -- from a global stablecoin to multiple stablecoins each tied to a different fiat currency such as the U.S. dollar or euro.

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Along with the name change, the Diem Association announced the recruitment of key executives, including the appointment of James Emmett as managing director, Sterling Daines as chief compliance officer, Ian Jenkins as chief financial and risk officer, and Saumya Bhavsar as general counsel.

"This is a stellar group of executives and having the executive committee of Diem Networks in place alongside existing leaders and colleagues is a critical step for Diem to operate with appropriate autonomy," Levey said in the press release.

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