Social media conglomerate Facebook has announced that it is establishing a new blockchain research team, and it will be led by a member of the Coinbase board of directors: David Marcus.
On Tuesday, Facebook announced a major overhaul of its executive leadership structure. As part of that reshuffle, David Marcus — the head of Facebook’s Messenger division — will lead a newly-created team that will explore how the company can integrate blockchain technology into its product suite.
“After nearly four unbelievably rewarding years leading Messenger, I have decided it was time for me to take on a new challenge, “Marcus wrote in a Facebook post. “I’m setting up a small group to explore how to best leverage Blockchain across Facebook, starting from scratch.”
Neither Marcus nor the company has provided any more details on the project, but with him at the helm the possibilities are staggering.
Unlike many corporate executives who fall into the “blockchain not bitcoin” crowd, Marcus is a sitting board member of Coinbase, perhaps the most well-known company in the cryptocurrency industry.
When he joined the Coinbase board last December, he said that he had been fascinated by cryptocurrencies since 2012 and is “convinced that what the company is working on has the potential to materially change the lives of people around the world.”
It would be overly-optimistic to suggest that placing Marcus at the head of Facebook’s blockchain project means that the social media giant will add support for cryptocurrency, but the fact that the initiative will be led by a voice friendly to cryptocurrency does mean that the chance that Facebook dips its toe into cryptocurrencies is greater than zero.
Such a move would not be unprecedented. Kik, which is much smaller than Facebook but still boasts several million active users, is developing its own cryptocurrency.
Meanwhile, the CEO of Twitter — Jack Dorsey — is an outspoken bitcoin bull, though the social media platform has yet to add native support for cryptocurrencies (Square, Dorsey’s digital payments business, recently added bitcoin trading to one of its apps).
In any case, the venture also serves as a logical conclusion of recent comments from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who in January wrote in his annual “personal challenge” post that he intended to “go deeper and study the positive and negative aspects” of computing “counter-trends” such as cryptocurrency and encryption in 2018.
Featured Image from Pixabay