In what might be a major development in the movement of cryptocurrencies to the mainstream, Facebook’s blockchain head, David Marcus, is leaving the Coinbase board due to a potential conflict of interest. His focus will now be solely on developing Facebook’s own blockchain capacity.
Marcus has served as a Facebook vice president since 2014 and joined the board of crypto platform Coinbase in December 2017. Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong said at the time that Marcus’s “perspective and experience in bringing innovative and impactful products to market will be invaluable” to the platform, and that his “knowledge of both the payments and mobile space” would support Coinbase’s efforts to create, “a truly open financial system that will bring opportunity to people all across the globe.”
In May of this year Marcus announced that he was moving on from leading Facebook’s Messenger app to set up a team to explore how “to best leverage Blockchain across Facebook.” It now appears that team has made sufficient progress to concentrate on the project full time.
A spokesperson for Coinbase said that Marcus’s departure was to “avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest.” Armstrong added that Marcus “remains a close friend of the company,” and that Coinbase thanks him “for his help along the start of our journey to create an open financial system for the world.”
Marcus explained to CoinDesk that his resignation was due to “the new group I’m setting up at Facebook around blockchain,” and that working with “the whole Coinbase leadership team and board has been an immense privilege.”
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has shown growing interest in the decentralizing power of cryptocurrencies. In his New Year message for 2018 he said that he wanted to “go deeper and study the positive and negative aspects of these [blockchain] technologies, and how best to use them in our services.”
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