Facebook has a new head of blockchain — wait, what?
- Facebook is falling in line with blockchain mania and establishing an internal team dedicated to working with the technology, Recode reports. Led by the former head of Messenger, David Marcus, the small blockchain group plans to "explore how to best leverage Blockchain across Facebook," Marcus said in a Facebook post.
- The move is part of a larger reorganization of Facebook's products, which was announced to employees Tuesday, Recode reports. Split into three divisions, the social network will have a team dedicated to the family of apps, which includes Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp and the Facebook app; another for central product services, including ads and analytics; and a platforms and infrastructure team reporting to CTO Mike Schroepfer, which will include the new blockchain division.
- Though the blockchain group will be small at the start, it features key Instagram executives, including James Everingham, VP of Engineering, and Kevin Weil, VP of product.
Time for a new challenge! After four amazing years leading Messenger, I'm going to setup a small group to explore how to best leverage Blockchain for Facebook. I will miss my fierce Messenger team, but I'm excited about the journey ahead. My full note: https://t.co/nBKAr7vyj9— David Marcus (@davidmarcus) May 8, 2018
Facebook has not publicly said what it wants with blockchain, but initial signs point to cryptocurrency. Prior to running Messenger, Marcus was the president of PayPal and sits on the board of Coinbase.
A self proclaimed "cryptogeek" with a knack for startups, Marcus's blockchain group could produce Facebook's answer to the cryptocurrency craze and create a new coin for the social network's more than one billion users. But with a vast network of users, blockchain could also help certify and secure transactions or communications between users.
Either way, technology behemoths experiment with blockchain, whether that's the Starbucks "bean to cup" effort or IBM's work to develop a shared and easily replicated ledger.
In the enterprise, reception of blockchain is mixed. Many visionaries picture a future grounded in the secure ledger technology, fixing everything from cross border trade to identity verification. But actual implementation lags in businesses; only 1% of CIOs have reported adopting blockchain.
Still, it's early days for bockchain and experts have long ways to go before widespread implementation is realized. Only one in three blockchain POCs show long-term enterprise promise, but those dogged technologists who can see past the hype will help establish the technology as a "foundational" aspect of next gen IT.
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