After forming an internal team dedicated to blockchain technologies, Facebook is reportedly jumping into cryptocurrency with both feet. Speaking with anonymous sources close to Facebook, Cheddar claims the social media giant is considering the release of its own virtual token for electronic payments.
“They are very serious about it,” an anonymous source told Cheddar.
This news comes just days after Facebook’s internal blockchain team went public. Headed up by Messenger chief David Marcus, the new team will be exploring how blockchain technologies could be used to improve Facebook.
“Like many other companies Facebook is exploring ways to leverage the power of blockchain technology,” a Facebook spokesperson told Cheddar. “This new small team will be exploring many different applications. We don’t have anything further to share.”
It’s important to point out that Marcus is a cryptocurrency evangelist, as evidenced by his early investments in Bitcoin. He also recently joined the board of Coinbase, a popular cryptocurrency exchange. When asked if Facebook would be integrating cryptocurrency into its apps anytime soon, Marcus mentioned that he thinks cryptocurrencies have ample room to improve their effectiveness.
“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,” Marcus said in an interview with CNBC.
Let’s put all this in context. This is big news if it turns out that Facebook is serious about potentially developing its own cryptocurrency. A “Facebook Coin” would have the potential to become the premier cryptocurrency, with Facebook’s massive number of daily active users. Creating and controlling a universal currency could put Facebook into a unique position going forward.
Already under congressional scrutiny for its privacy missteps, the development of its own cryptocurrency to rival Bitcoin, Ethereum, and even the U.S. dollar could attract the watchful eye of federal regulators.
Not to mention, if Facebook does in fact intend to develop its own cryptocurrency, it also casts the recent expulsion of all cryptocurrency-related advertisements from the platform in a particularly nefarious light.