Facebook is launching its own blockchain division as part of a broader reorganization of its executive lineup, multiple sources confirmed to Recode today. The move comes four months after CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post that he wanted the company to “go deeper and study the positive and negative aspects of” cryptocurrencies.
The company is saying little about its blockchain division for now. But we do know that David Marcus, who was serving as the vice president of messaging products and overseeing Facebook Messenger, will be running the blockchain group. The former CEO of PayPal, Marcus has long been interested in payments, and he currently serves on the board of bitcoin exchange Coinbase. “After nearly four unbelievably rewarding years leading Messenger, I have decided it was time for me to take on a new challenge,” Marcus wrote in a Facebook post, “I’m setting up a small group to explore how to best leverage Blockchain across Facebook, starting from scratch.”
Instagram’s current vice president of product, Kevin Weil, will be leaving that role to join Facebook’s blockchain team under Marcus. The two positions are the only ones announced so far for the team, and come amid a lot of other employee reshuffling.
The company restructuring comes a little under a month after Zuckerberg testified in front of Congress about the Cambridge Analytica data breach scandal, and five months after Zuckerberg promised to fix Facebook as part of his New Year’s resolution. If adding a blockchain initiative to its arsenal is part of the solution for Facebook, it may encounter greater governmental scrutiny as a result. We’ve reached out to Facebook for more information and will update this post if we hear back.