What a weird 48 hours it has been for the cryptocurrency space. After reports revealed that Binance had lost 7,074 Bitcoin (BTC) in an out of left field hack, Bloomberg reports that Facebook, one of the world’s largest tech companies, is quickly ramping up its talent acquisition efforts for its resident blockchain division.
Mike Novogratz of Galaxy Digital calls this news monumental, in that when Facebook launches its first consumer-facing blockchain and crypto product, public awareness of Bitcoin will spike dramatically.
Launch Of Facebook’s Crypto Nears
From the surface, Facebook doesn’t seem like a likely contender in the blockchain space. But, over the bear market of 2018, the Silicon Valley darling has begun to seriously foray into blockchain and cryptocurrency, amassing dozens of full-time staffers and spending millions on industry projects. While the details regarding Facebook’s blockchain-related products are hard to come across, more and more information has been divulged by insiders with time.
In the aforementioned Bloomberg report, one source familiar with the matter reveals that the blockchain branch is rapidly securing talent. This doesn’t seem to be baseless hearsay. As The Next Web’s “Hard Fork” column spotted just months ago, Facebook’s careers portal then had 22 blockchain-related roles open, including Product Managers, a Finance Analyst, a Threat Investigator, and a Director of Technical Account and Securities and Exchange Commission Reporting.
This hiring spree, according to Bloomberg, pushes Facebook’s staffer count in this unit above 50, 20% of which reportedly previously worked at PayPal, signifying that digital payments are a priority.
People familiar add that such moves are being made to prepare Facebook Blockchain for the launch of its first product, slated to be unveiled “as soon as next quarter”. A Wall Street Journal report, which Blockonomi reported on previously, would confirm this.
According to the exclusive, Facebook is currently working on securing up to $1 billion in funding from financial services giants, namely Visa and Mastercard, and crypto pundits and funds. Just the other day, Digital Currency Group’s Barry Silbert just divulged he signed an NDA with Facebook for… something. The financing is purportedly for a cryptocurrency and a broader payment network — dubbed “Project Libra.”
The digital asset is purported to be a stablecoin tied to the U.S. dollar and will act as the backbone of the payments system, which is said to be focused on eliminating credit card fees, thus aiding merchants and consumers alike.
Interestingly, the cryptocurrency may also become an integral part of an upcoming upgrade to Facebook’s ad system, which may reward users for viewing ads and purchasing goods.
This contradicts previous reports stating that Facebook’s project was going to be centered around providing remittances for WhatsApp users in nations like India.
Facebook Ad Services Continues To Go Blockchain-Friendly
Seemingly as a result of Facebook’s growing love for blockchain and related technologies, the company Wednesday revealed that it has begun to rollback its ban against blockchain- and crypto-related advertisements. In a recent TechCrunch report, it was revealed that Facebook will now allow the publishing of paid advertisements related to “blockchain technology, industry news, education or events related to cryptocurrency” without a pre-approval process.
However, advertisements involving exchanges, certain crypto assets, and other facets of the industry involving monetary sums will need prior approval.
- Image Courtesy of TechCrunch
It isn’t clear by how much this change, albeit slight, will affect public awareness of the cryptocurrency ecosystem. But for an industry that has likely lost much of its reputation—for whatever it’s worth— in 2018, the reinstating of Facebook ad privileges is validation that blockchain may soon be returning to the mainstream on the back of an increase of FOMO.