David Marcus, the former head of Facebook’s Messenger team who now leads a blockchain-focused group within the social media giant, announced Friday that he would resigned from his seat on the board of cryptocurrency trading platform Coinbase.
According to the world’s biggest social media platform Facebook, the move was made to “avoid the appearance of conflict” between Marcus’ two roles.
Though Facebook has not revealed any specific plans to use the decentralized ledger technology behind Bitcoin, Marcus stepping down at Coinbase suggests that Facebook’s blockchain ambitions are ongoing and serious.
The news spreading within the industry is that the possible plans could include issuing its own cryptocurrency, which could swiftly make Facebook a power player in the global payments ecosystem; or acquiring major blockchain startups, perhaps even Coinbase itself.
Marcus’ resignation from the Coinbase board was first reported by Coindesk. It came just months after he joined that board in December of 2017. Marcus took on his role exploring blockchain at Facebook in May of this year.
Meanwhile, recent reports claim Facebook has been reaching out to major banks to integrate financial data into its social platform. That move signaled Facebook’s ambitions to expand its role in finance and ecommerce, but also raised red flags for many in light of the site’s recent spate of controversies over privacy.
While Facebook has emphasized that its exploration of cryptocurrency is in its early stages, that incident suggests several potential benefits of applying thetechnology – as well as highlighting some pitfalls.
In May, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that technology like blockchain could give users more control, including over financial and other personal data. That could help moderate future backlash against the platform, which recently reported disappointing user growth.
At the same time, Zuckerberg acknowledged that blockchain systems, which run on distributed swarms of servers, are “harder to control.”