After reports earlier this month of a Blockchain team lead by David Marcus, former Messenger VP, news surfaced on May 11 that Facebook is launching its own cryptocurrency. Alex Heath, a Senior Reporter at Cheddar, broke the news about Facebook’s latest technology gamble.
Marcus has been heavily involved with the overall digital financial world. He was previously President of PayPal, and he currently holds a board seat at Coinbase, one of the of most prominent crypto exchanges in the world.
Facebook Charges On, Despite Telegram’s Failed ICO
After the Telegram mess, it would be reasonable to assume messaging apps would stay away from such ventures. Apparently, Facebook wasn’t discouraged. An unidentified source close to the project said, “They are very serious about it.”
Though Facebook has been studying blockchain since last summer, Morgan Beller was leading the charge on a solo mission. Now, Marcus and his team will be focusing on the blockchain’s applications for Facebook.
Facebook’s 10-Year Roadmap Makes No Mention of Blockchain
Throughout the years, company executives have involved its employees in its future plans, announcing it proudly in public presentations. This strategy has helped the several departments gain a clear understanding of where their work is headed, thus creating a focused workplace.
However, the same source has said blockchain plans had been kept out of their 10-year roadmap. A team may be dedicated to it now, but no one really knows what exactly they are doing.
A Facebook spokesperson said:
“Like many other companies Facebook is exploring ways to leverage the power of blockchain technology. This new small team will be exploring many different applications. We don’t have anything further to share.”
Facebook Gives Digital Currencies Another Chance
Few people may remember it, but this is not the first time Facebook attempts to issue a digital currency. Back in 2009, back when we were all carefully tending our Farmville crops, the social media network released ‘Facebook Credits’.
Facebook Credits was a virtual currency which allowed people to purchase in-game items and non-gaming applications. At the time, one dollar equaled 10 Facebook Credits.
The venture lasted two years. Facebook’s product management director Prashant Fuloria said, at the time:
“Most games on Facebook have implemented their own virtual currencies, reducing the need for a platform-wide virtual currency.”
It Might Take Years Before Facebook Releases Its Coin
Even though the Marcus-led team of blockchain developers has been announced, the Coinbase Board Member had spoken about it back in February 2018. At the time, he said:
“Payments using crypto right now is just very expensive, super slow, so the various communities running the different blockchains and the different assets need to fix all the issues, and then when we get there someday, maybe we’ll do something.”
Given the scrutiny Facebook and its CEO have been under recently, this approach comes as no surprise. It only makes sense Zuckerberg will want to make sure everything will be done properly, before the worldwide launch.
Sources close to the project have also said Facebook will not hold an ICO. Again, another logical decision, given the company’s multi-billion value. Further, given the bad reputation some ICOs have gotten lately, — I’m looking at you, Telegram — such a move could hinder the whole project’s vision.