In the latest twist to the ongoing Facebook crypto saga, former Facebook Messenger chief David Marcus has stepped down from Coinbase’s board after only eight short months.
In May Marcus had announced that he was leaving his role as head of Messenger to embark on an internal blockchain initiative, and since that point, there have been questions regarding a potential conflict of interest due to his seat on the board of Coinbase, a digital currency exchange based in San Francisco.
Well, those questions have been answered, but have now been replaced with even more questions regarding a potential Facebook crypto plan.
Potential acquisition of Coinbase?
Coinbase is currently the leading digital exchange in the industry with a valuation of around USD 8 billion, and a reported USD 1 billion in revenue last year.
There has been speculation for a while now regarding a possible Facebook crypto, with the belief being that such a move by the social media giant would come by way of an acquisition of Coinbase.
Facebook has been quick to downplay any furthering of the rumors already in circulation, with a spokesperson claiming that Marcus stepping down from the Coinbase board was more “to avoid the appearance of conflict, rather than because of an actual conflict.”
David Marcus came to prominence after founding a payments startup called Zong in 2008, which he later sold to PayPal for around USD 240 million.
This move also saw Marcus join PayPal as Vice President and General Manager of their mobile division.
In 2014 he stepped down from PayPal to join Facebook as Vice President of its Messaging products.
In a statement released shortly after news of him stepping down from the Coinbase board emerged, Marcus said –
“Because of the new group I’m setting up at Facebook around Blockchain, I’ve decided it was appropriate for me to resign from the Coinbase board.
Getting to know Brian, who’s become a friend, and the whole Coinbase leadership team and board has been an immense privilege.
I’ve been thoroughly impressed by the talent and execution the team has demonstrated during my tenure, and I wish the team all the success it deserves going forward.”
Facebook job postings
Meanwhile, clues on the future of the much-discussed Facebook crypto have been found via a couple of job postings which highlight the company looking to hire a public policy manager, and a software engineering manager.
The posting read –
“The group 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.”
It also has to be considered that any buyout of Coinbase by Facebook would raise some pretty substantial complications, especially when it comes to dealing with regulation.
Facebook currently finds itself in the crosshairs of US lawmakers following the Cambridge Analytica scandal earlier this year and has acknowledged their role in the 2016 U.S. elections.
With Coinbase operating in highly regulated financial markets and talks being reported by the Wall Street Journal of discussions with the SEC about becoming a licensed brokerage firm and electronic-trading venue, it’s safe to assume this would be an incredibly heavy regulatory responsibility for a company like Facebook to take up, especially at this particular moment.
Coinbase may not even want to sell
There’s also the small matter of Coinbase possibly not wanting to sell.
The company is doing very well for the time being, and Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong commented after completing their fourth buyout this quarter –
“We’re at the beginning of imagining what might be possible when we combine all of the brilliance of these teams with all the opportunity ahead of Coinbase.”
What seems to be becoming more evident is that a Facebook crypto may not be far away at all, even if a buyout of Coinbase may not be on the cards.
Lover of all things crypto, blockchain and AI, professional tech scribe & part of the editorial team at Crypto Disrupt.