Facebook has undergone a major shuffle with its top level executives and David Marcus will be leaving his leadership role at Messenger. After four years of leading the messenger team, he is moving to a new unit within Facebook that is focused on Blockchain. Mark Zuckerberg was committed towards decentralisation in his 2018 resolution.
One of the most interesting questions in technology right now is about centralization vs decentralization. A lot of us got into technology because we believe it can be a decentralizing force that puts more power in people’s hands. (The first four words of Facebook’s mission have always been “give people the power”.) Back in the 1990s and 2000s, most people believed technology would be a decentralizing force.
But today, many people have lost faith in that promise. With the rise of a small number of big tech companies — and governments using technology to watch their citizens — many people now believe technology only centralizes power rather than decentralizes it.
There are important counter-trends to this –like encryption and cryptocurrency — that take power from centralized systems and put it back into people’s hands. But they come with the risk of being harder to control. I’m interested to go deeper and study the positive and negative aspects of these technologies, and how best to use them in our services.
With Markus leading the team, Facebook might be serious about their Blockchain future. He is a long time Cryptocurrency advocate and a board member in the world’s largest exchange, Coinbase. Markus was the president of Paypal before joining Facebook. He confirmed the move in a tweet without giving any further details.
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
It is highly unlikely for Facebook to do their own Cryptocurrency. The new team’s purpose would be to figure out implementing Blockchain within their existing and future products.