Facebook Elects Coinbase Board Member to Lead Blockchain Study Team

David Marcus, a board member of Coinbase, will be leaving his leadership role at Messenger to oversee a new Facebook team focused on blockchain technology, Reuters reported.

The team Marcus will manage reportedly will have less than a few dozen employees and will include James Everingham, vice president of engineering at Instagram; and Kevin Weil, Instagram’s vice president of product. Stan Chudnovsky, who oversees the product at Messenger, will assume Marcus’ former role as head of Messenger.

Marcus, former president of PayPal, brings payments expertise to Facebook’s study into cryptocurrency.

Marcus, a longtime cryptocurrency advocate who joined cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase’s board of directors last December, will report to Mike Schroepfer, Facebook CTO.  Chudnovsky will report to Chris Cox, chief product officer.

The former president of PayPal once expressed on Twitter in 2014 that his company believed in Bitcoin and had no policies against the cryptocurrency.

The new roles and changes are part of a reorganization announced at Facebook this week, marking its largest restructuring of the company to date.

Weil, who joined Instagram from Twitter back in 2016, will be replaced at Instagram by Adam Mosseri, who has been responsible for Facebook’s News Feed.

Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, stated his intention earlier this year to study decentralized technologies, specifically cryptocurrencies, as a part of a pledge to “fix” Facebook in 2018.

In a Facebook blog post, earlier this year Zuckerberg outlined what he called “personal challenges” noting that one is to study the “positive and negative aspects” of cryptocurrency and encryption.

“There are important counter-trends to this — encryption and cryptocurrency — that take power from centralized systems and put it back into people’s hands,” Zuckerberg wrote in his 2018 mission statement.

Zuckerberg went on to state his aspirations for this year noting that he wants to “fix important issues” in technology, media and government. “I’m looking forward to bringing groups of experts together to discuss and help work through these topics,” he wrote.

Zuckerberg called cryptocurrencies one of the most interesting questions in technology right now urging to “take power from centralized systems” by employing uses for “encryption and cryptocurrency putting power back into people’s hands.” He added that, today, many have lost faith that “technology would be a decentralizing force.”

“There are important counter-trends to this – like encryption and cryptocurrency – that take power from centralized systems and put it back into people’s hands…I’m interested to go deeper and study the positive and negative aspects of these technologies, and how best to use them in our services,” he said.

Billionaire investor Peter Thiel who co-founded PayPal and was an early investor in Facebook has also endorsed Bitcoin saying the cryptocurrency has “great potential” to become the “cyber equivalent of gold.”

“If Bitcoin ends up being the cyber equivalent of gold it has a great potential left,” Thiel said, “Bitcoin is mineable like gold, it’s hard to mine, it’s actually harder to mine than gold. And so in that sense it’s more constrained,” he added.

Bitcoin surpassed PayPal’s $70B market cap in August of last year when Bitcoin was worth only $4,300; at the time Bitcoin was valued at a market cap of $71,141,374,550, Coinivore reported.

Facebook’s market cap is currently 513.95B  trading at 178.92 a share, up (0.53%)according to Google Finance NASDAQ summary at the time of this report.

Facebook banned cryptocurrency ads earlier this year that “promote financial products and services that are frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices.”

Bitcoin is currently trading at [FIAT: $9,138.37] down -2.15% according to Coin Market Cap at the time of this report.

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