Just months ago, David Marcus, the former president of fintech giant Paypal, was appointed as the inaugural head of Facebook Blockchain, the social media giant’s first stab at so-called “internet 3.0” innovation. But since Marcus’ appointment, many have been puzzled, as Facebook’s blockchain division has seemingly disappeared off the face of Planet Earth. In a testament to this confusion, the Menlo Park-headquartered corporation has only fleeting referenced its newfangled branch, specifically through the incessant stream of Facebook job opportunities posted via LinkedIn.
Yet, an exclusive report from Cheddar, an up-and-coming business media outlet, has revealed that Facebook’s “small” blockchain consortium has been bolstering its defenses behind closed doors. Citing those familiar with the matter, the outlet’s Alex Heath and Tanaya Macheel explained that nearly 40 employees, which consist of blockchain developers and former members of Paypal’s top brass, now work within the walls of the little-known program. In the exposé piece from Cheddar, it was also divulged that two former key members pertinent to the Instagram project had jumped onto the blockchain bandwagon.
And the social media powerhouse doesn’t seem poised to pause its blockchain efforts, even in spite of the Bitcoin market rut. Facebook has reportedly shot representatives across the globe in a search for potential team members at crypto-centric events. Such efforts to find talent haven’t been deemed enough, however, as Facebook Blockchain’s staffing recruiters and chiefs have also reached out to leading cryptocurrency projects in an attempt to poach promising employees.
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But while Facebook evidently means business, not much is known about the blockchain spoke’s inner workings and long-term ambitions. Crypto industry commentators have speculated that Facebook could be seeking to put pertinent segments of its social media platform on (de)centralized ledger technology, while others have speculated that a digital identity platform is in development.
Still, at a private rendezvous hosted by Facebook, attendees purportedly told Cheddar that the firm has intentions to launch a “decentralized digital currency” that would be aimed at its expansive user base. And interestingly, while the latter plan sounds the most ambitious, multiple reports have nearly verified that a token could be in development at Facebook’s new department. Speaking on the matter of a cryptocurrency or digital asset backed by Facebook, explaining why such a venture is logical, Drew Hinkes of New York University told Cheddar:
“They have a massive installed user base… They probably are looking at China and seeing how popular mobile commerce has been there and wondering why we can’t do that.”
Regardless, no matter the form that Facebook’s first crypto or blockchain offering takes, many are sure that it could turn this industry right on its head. Morgan Creek Digital partner Anthony Pompliano, known across Twitter for his hate for banks, and advocacy for cryptocurrencies, recently “bet” that the American internet juggernaut will build the “most used product in crypto.”
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Although this shouldn’t be exactly surprising, especially considering Pompliano’s former role at Facebook and the firm’s global influence, his comments took many aback, as Facebook accentuates the hallmarks of centralization in the eyes of cynics.
Not The Only Corporate Player On The Blockchain Block
Facebook isn’t, by any means, the only multinational institution to further its foray into blockchain technologies. As reported by NewsBTC, Paypal, the widely-used payments network, recently begun an in-house initiative centered around company-branded crypto assets. This system, which some have jokingly dubbed “PaypalCoin,” allows employees to garner, trade, and exchanges tokens for rewards, dubbed “experiences,” that include martial arts classes with CEO of Paypal, Dan Schulman.
Although this system was likely made in good fun, the fact of the matter is that if Paypal finds value in cryptocurrencies, the firm may seriously consider rolling out products surrounding this asset class in due time.