It’s not entirely clear what exactly is going on in Facebook’s nascent cryptocurrency division, but several reports suggest that something is afoot.
The first comes from Business Insider, who reports that Facebook’s blockchain research group recently met with Stellar to discuss how the social media conglomerate could leverage distributed ledger technology (DLT) as it explores potentially building out a payments network.
According to unnamed sources, the two parties discussed how Facebook could fork the public Stellar blockchain, much as chat app Kik did after it decided to create an independent blockchain for its Kin cryptocurrency rather than piggyback on the main Stellar network. The task force is also said to have met with other unnamed cryptocurrency projects.
The publication also reports that Facebook has rapidly been expanding its blockchain division. One job posting said that the endeavor “is a startup within Facebook, with a vision to make blockchain technology work at Facebook scale and improve the lives of billions of people around the world.”
Further stoking the coals of the rumor mill is the announcement, first reported by CoinDesk, that David Marcus, a Facebook vice president and the former head of its Messenger division, has stepped down from his post on Coinbase’s board of directors, a role he originally took on at the cryptocurrency exchange giant last December.
Marcus, as CCN reported, left his role at Messenger in May to lead Facebook’s blockchain division, where he reports directly to Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer.
A Coinbase spokesperson told the publication that Marcus had stepped down to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest, leading to speculation that Facebook is preparing to make a major announcement regarding its cryptocurrency plans.
Earlier this year, financial news outlet Cheddar reported that multiple sources had said that Facebook is “specifically interested in creating its own digital token, which would allow its more than two billion users to facilitate transactions without government-backed currency.”
Cryptocurrency has also been on the mind of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who said that one of his personal challenges for 2018 is to learn more about technologies “like encryption and cryptocurrency.”
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