The Singapore sovereign wealth fund Temasek last week joined the Libra Association, a global consortium from Facebook developing a blockchain-based currency.
Temasek, valued at about $221 billion, is the first government-owned fund to join the council at the nonprofit. Other investment funds Paradigm and Slow Ventures also joined the Libra Association last week, according to a release.
“As part of our journey to better understand its impact across different fronts, we are collaborating with government agencies and companies to explore and advance its use,” Chia Song Hwee, deputy chief executive of Temasek International, said in an emailed statement.
“Our participation in the Libra Association as a member will allow us to contribute towards a regulated global network for cost effective retail payments,” he added.
The Facebook-backed blockchain project has attracted more than two dozen top companies and investment funds pledging to advocate for a governance and policy structure around the digital payments system, according to an October release. Other organizations in the nonprofit include Andreessen Horowitz, Spotify, Uber Technologies, and Union Square Ventures.
Each member with a seat on the governing Libra Council has one vote for decisions regarding the network’s development, according to a Temasek spokesperson.
Members are also required to act as validator nodes on the Libra network, the spokesperson said. Validator nodes are independent individuals or servers on the blockchain that validate and maintain a history of transactions, which can never be reversed.
Facebook’s Libra Project has attracted scrutiny since it was first announced last June. Blockchain advocates extol the benefits of a decentralized payments system that could reach unbanked communities and save billions of dollars in transaction fees. But others are wary that an effort pioneered by Facebook comes with its own data privacy concerns. Critics also point to the social media company’s lack of experience in banking.
But Libra has been making strides this month, including appointing its first chief executive, Stuart Levey, who is currently the legal chief at HSBC. Previously, he served in financial intelligence in the Bush and Obama administrations.
It’s not the first time that Temasek has shown interest in blockchain. At a 2017 fintech conference, Temasek International Deputy CEO Chia said the institutional investor is interested in supporting the next generation of distributed ledger technology.