David Marcus will be leaving his leadership role at Messenger to oversee a new Facebook team focused on blockchain technology, according to Recode.
The team, which will reportedly have less than a few dozen employees, will include James Everingham, vice president of engineering at Instagram, and Kevin Weil, Instagram’s vice president of product. Stan Chudnovsky, who oversees product at Messenger, will assume Marcus’ former role.
Marcus, former president of PayPal, brings payments expertise. He has also overseen major changes at Messenger, including the decision to separate Messenger from the core app to allow users to download the standalone app and get mobile messages. He also oversaw the push into customer service bots, shopping and advertising.
New Credibility For Blockchain
Facebook’s move into blockchain will bring new credibility to the cryptocurrency industry. While Facebook will not necessarily create its own cryptocurrency, the company could well find new uses for blockchain technology, such as encrypted data storage.
Marcus — a longtime cryptocurrency advocate who joined cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase’s board of directors in December — will report to Mike Schroepfer, Facebook CTO. Chudnovsky will report to Chris Cox, chief product officer.
The new roles are part of a reorganization announced at the company this week, marking its largest restructuring to date.
Weil, who joined Instagram from Twitter back in 2016, will be replaced at Instagram by Adam Mosseri, who has been running Facebook’s News Feed.
Direction From Zuckerberg
Facebook founder and chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, stated his intention early this year to study decentralized technologies, specifically cryptocurrencies, as a part of his pledge to “fix” Facebook in 2018.
Zuckerberg published a message detailing his “personal challenge” – similar to a resolution – for the new year, accompanied by a pledge to study technologies “like encryption and cryptocurrency.”
However, Facebook banned ads earlier this year that “promote financial products and services that are frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices.” They justified the move by arguing that there are “many companies” that are advertising ICOs and cryptocurrencies, as well as binary options, that aren’t on the up-and-up.