Earlier today, Andrew Aude, a Stanford Computer Science student, posted to twitter with pictures of Facebook Messenger’s new P2P “FB Payments” functionality. Aude and other commentators likened Facebook’s new payment system to SquareCash or Venmo. FB Payments has been in the making for a long time and has recently been revamped by Facebook’s hire of David Marcus, former president of PayPal.
David Marcus is an admitted supporter of Bitcoin and likely played an instrumental role in PayPal’s warming up to Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Dogecoin via Braintree. Since hiring Marcus, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has confirmed to Business Insider that p2p payments are going to be a huge part of Facebook Messenger. Though the leaked pictures don’t suggest that Bitcoin will be present at Facebook Messenger’s P2P FB Payments still unannounced launch, Facebook likely has plans for Bitcoin and other digital currencies in the future, once their P2P payment network takes off.
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Facebook Messenger P2P FB Payments First Look
— Andy Aude (@andyplace2) October 4, 2014
Facebook Messenger Is Run by David Marcus, Who Supports Bitcoin
Bank Innovation reports that David Marcus was against PayPal’s deal with Samsung, the very deal that likely killed ApplePay and PayPal’s budding partnership. It may have been this and other clashes with eBay CEO John Donahoe that led David Marcus to leave PayPal for Facebook. According to John Donahoe in an interview with USA Today, the larger eBay and PayPal split was taken to increase flexibility for both companies. Specifically, Donahoe admitted that PayPal’s new freedom would leave it free to pursue even more daring partnerships, potentially with Amazon or Alibaba. Obviously, PayPal and Facebook Payments already have an existing partnership: One that has been shown (if labels are any sign) to be implemented in Facebook Messenger’s P2P payments.
It was just last year that David Marcus, speaking with CNET, revealed his opinion on Bitcoin. In a previous conference, he had said that he both liked and owned bitcoins. Earlier this year, David Marcus invested in Bitcoin startup XAPO, while he was still the head of PayPal. PayPal has gone on with digital currency integration without David Marcus at the head; now at a new company, David’s positive influence is going to be felt by Facebook. FB Payments is only confirmed to start with PayPal and debit card support; however, Bitcoin could be just over the horizon.
FB Messenger Friend-to-Friend Payments Unveiled
More information from Aude about his discovery has been released on TechCrunch. Aude used a developer tool, called cycript, to look at the FB Messenger app on his jail broken iPhone. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg first hinted that FB Messenger would eventually have payments earlier this year. Zuckerberg did not promise any timeframe for that functionality, saying: “there’s so much groundwork for us to do.” Aude revealed that the FB Payment function in FB Messenger will not publish the transaction to the public, something that happens with potential competitor Venmo. Facebook has not commented on the leaked images to any media outlets, despite many inquiries.
Images from Shutterstock.