Following the much-publicised crypto ad ban that Facebook initiated back in January of this year, something else happened four months later that didn’t grab quite so many headlines.
Facebook began to get serious about blockchain technology.
Not just an exploratory project
A group was set up in May, headed by Facebook Messenger chief David Marcus, to “explore” the technology.
Well, things appear to be getting a lot more serious, as following news that Facebook would be loosening its crypto ads ban we’ve now learned that one of Facebook’s most senior engineers, Evan Cheng, has been appointed Director of Engineering, Blockchain.
This move, which was first reported by TechCrunch before being confirmed by Facebook suggests that the social media giant has long since moved past the point of exploring the technology, and is now putting in place some pretty firm plans.
A source has been quoted as saying “It means it’s not just an exploratory project,” with Cheng’s knowledge of performance and scalability signaling the importance of this project to Facebook.
Cheng has been head of Programming Languages and Runtimes at the company for the past three years before which he worked at Apple for ten years, much of his time there spent as Senior Manager of Low-Level Tools.
A quick look at his Twitter bio suggests that he has more than a passing interest in blockchain and cryptocurrencies, as it reads –
“day job – programming languages, runtimes, compilers; night job – blockchain, crypto.”
Just a little too convenient
Cheng’s promotion to the blockchain division, along with Facebook’s recent reversal of policy when it comes to cryptocurrency advertising has led many to suggest that the motives of the internet behemoth aren’t altogether innocent.
Robert Hackett of Fortune published an article in June that cast doubt over the move to roll back a crypto ad ban, commenting that “Whether Big Tech is conscious of the biases it possesses or not, there’s no denying the incumbents have an interest in smothering a would-be usurper in its crib.”
He also quoted David Pakman of venture capital firm Venrock, who told Fortune that it seemed “just a little bit too convenient for my taste that Facebook, a massively centralized corporation, should put the kibosh on the one budding segment of the economy that might pose a legitimate threat to its supremacy. And now that Facebook is reportedly preparing an entree into the market, the company has, again quite conveniently, reversed its position.”
Lover of all things crypto, blockchain and AI, professional tech scribe & part of the editorial team at Crypto Disrupt.