Facebook is working hard to expand its blockchain development team. The company is also rumored to be building its own cryptocurrency.
Blockchain and Social Media: Can They Work Together?
Facebook and crypto have had something of a mixed relationship in the past. The social media giant started 2018 by following in Google’s footprints and banning all advertisements relating to crypto, blockchain and initial coin offerings (ICOs).
Only months later, however, the company announced that it was partnering with the former president of PayPal David Marcus, who would head the company’s blockchain unit formed last April. Marcus says he’s a longtime cryptocurrency advocate and even served on the board of directors at Coinbase, one of the world’s largest and most popular cryptocurrency exchanges.
Who’s in Charge, Here?
Facebook’s blockchain unit now consists of over 40 individuals, with more than six reportedly coming from PayPal. The group also contains members of both Samsung Pay and Google Pay. Both divisions provide mobile payment options and digital wallet services to their customers.
Alex Heath of Cheddar fame explains:
“They’ve been very quiet about what they’ve been working on, very stealthy, but it’s definitely going to be a kind of blockchain-based cryptocurrency payments product. They’ve already got policy people in D.C. to ramp this up.”
Ramping Things Up
Facebook’s cryptocurrency project would be privy to Facebook users only. Account holders would be able to make electronic payments to each other without utilizing the “middle-man” tactics of a traditional bank or payment center.
Heath also alleges that the social media company is embarking on a massive hiring spree that includes dev operators, product managers, legal experts and academics that can offer their knowledge and expertise to the growing blockchain group. He writes:
“They’re actively recruiting. They’re also trying to scoop up crypto start-ups that are at the whitepaper level, which means they don’t even have a product yet… The talent in this industry is so finite, and there are so many big players wanting these talented cryptographers and academics, so Facebook is going really hard at them, and they’re having difficulty.”
Trying to Gain Trust Back
This could be because people have lost trust in Facebook. Following the entire scandal surrounding Cambridge Analytica, both users and employers are expressing concern over how their private data will be distributed. Heath claims that has led to a total split-shift attitude in the tech industry:
“The idea of Facebook creating a cryptocurrency and a digital economy within its ecosystem is either incredibly exciting – if you talk to some people – or one of the scariest things in the world if you talk to others. It’s very polarizing, but they are actively building this up. I think we can expect to see Facebook buy some companies up in the crypto space in the next year.”
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