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FaceCoin: Here’s What Facebook Could Build In Blockchain And Cryptocurrency

CB Insights | April 30, 2019

facecoin - FaceCoin: Here’s What Facebook Could Build In Blockchain And CryptocurrencyCould blockchain be an answer to scandal-plagued Facebook?

While a “Facecoin” might not lay the company’s many controversies to rest, it could potentially address everything from centralized single sign-on to cheaper payments processing. A variety of different signals point to Facebook getting serious about blockchain and digital currency.

For one, in January 2018, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg mentioned cryptocurrency when disclosing his annual project for 2018:

“There are important counter-trends to [the rise of Big Tech] — like encryption and cryptocurrency… I’m interested to go deeper and study the positive and negative aspects.”

Since then, the company has created a formalized group dedicated to exploring blockchain.

However, using the CB Insights platform, we learned Facebook has been experimenting with digital currency tech for quite some time.

See: Facebook Is Developing a Cryptocurrency for WhatsApp Transfers, Sources Say

From a new org structure to patent trends, we used the CB Insights platform to highlight Facebook’s blockchain ambitions and the possibility of a Facebook cryptocurrency — FaceCoin.

Timeline of major events

  • November 2017 — Early publicity about Russian election interference using Facebook
  • Jan 2018 — Zuckerberg’s personal goal for “Fixing Facebook” mentions experimenting with cryptocurrency and encryption
  • March 2018 — NYT and the Guardian publish coverage on the Cambridge Analytica scandal, working with Christopher Wylie
  • May 2018 — Facebook announces its largest reorganization ever, creating the blockchain group run by former Messenger boss (and ex-PayPal president) David Marcus, while also moving Instagram VP of Product Kevin Weil to the project
  • June 2018 — Facebook reverses ban on cryptocurrency ads
  • August 2018 — David Marcus steps down from the Coinbase board, citing a conflict of interest
  • December 2018 — Bloomberg reports that Facebook is developing a stablecoin, or a cryptocurrency pegged to a basket of currencies, for transfers within its WhatsApp service
  • March 2019 — Facebook acqui-hires Chainspace, which focused on smart contracts and payments, in its first blockchain acquisition
  • April 2019 — Sources say Facebook is meeting with VCs to raise as much as $1B for its cryptocurrency initiative, which could help present the project as more decentralized

See: Eastern Caribbean Central Bank to Issue World’s First Blockchain-Based Digital Currency

What FB could build with blockchain and digital assets

As Facebook looks to redefine itself and expand its offerings, blockchain could be a significant lever to pull. Among many possibilities, tech commentators have theorized Facebook could build:

  • Coin incentives for e-commerce
  • Micropayments for services and content creators
  • Banking apps
  • Exchanges (competing with the likes of Coinbase)
  • Identity tech

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