To facilitate global payments, which is surely of interest to an investor in Alibaba
Singapore’s state-owned investment firm Temasek holdings has joined the Facebook-led Libra not-a-cryptocurrency project.
Temasek is Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund and has over $330bn under management. The company invests in plenty of tech outfits, listing Alibaba, Tencent and Dell Technologies in its portfolio (having previously helped Dell to acquire EMC). The company doesn’t only back blue chips and whales: it also funds more than a few startups.
Temasek’s Tweeted announcement of its participation in Libra said: “Looking forward to the potential of this #blockchain-based digital currency, and how it can help create a regulated global network for cost effective retail payments”. Libra’s canned statement said the investment firm “sees innovative technologies such as blockchain as transformative enablers of growth” and wishes to “support and advance the use of blockchain technology across a range of use cases, asset classes and sectors, reflects its drive to explore, develop and invest in solutions to bring about a better, smarter, and more sustainable world.”
Both parties are keeping the news quite low-key, but the timing of Temasek’s news is good given Libra recently pivoted to a less-ambitious model after less-than-enthusiastic reception to its plans. Throw in the fact that few of Libra’s backers have anywhere near Temasek’s size or credibility, and this is good news for the Facebook-founded cryptocurrency. That Temasek likes to focus its efforts in Asia, and has stakes in major Chinese e-commerce companies, makes the new alignment even more portentous.