Facebook’s David Marcus Resigns From Coinbase Board as Company Moves Into Crypto Space

Francisco Memoria
  • Facebook executive David Marcus has recently resigned from Coinbase's board, citing a role leading a group at the social media giant.
  • Per analysts he could've had to resign to avoid a conflict of interest at the cryptocurrency exchange.

Facebook executive David Marcus has recently resigned from Coinbase’s board, in a move that’s being seen as part of the social media giant’s push into the crypto space through the development of its own blockchain.

According to Bloomberg, Marcus stepped down claiming a new group he oversees at Facebook is also looking into blockchain technology. Per his words, this made him decide it was appropriate to resign.

Notably, what Facebook will do with blockchain technology is still unclear, although the social media giant has formed a team to look into it. Facebook recently denied reports suggesting it was in talks with Stellar after reports suggested it could even fork the crypto firm’s blockchain.

These reports cited anonymous sources, and were published shortly after Marcus’ decision to resign. A position at Coinbase’s board could be viewed as a conflict of interest, if the social media giant decides to follow in the footsteps of other players and launch its own cryptocurrency – something reports suggest the company is “very serious” about.

Various analysts have speculated on the move and Facebook’s intentions. Lucas Nuzzi, director of technology research at Digital Asset Research, noted Marcus could lobby the exchange to list Facebook’s token. He stated:

Many in the community were aware Facebook was expanding their efforts in this area. Kik and Telegram started their tokenization campaign, it seemed like a matter of time until Facebook jumped on the bandwagon.

Lucas Nuzzi

Kik, a popular mobile messaging company, launched its own “Kin” tokens last year, after raising over $100 million. Telegram, a privacy-centric messaging app, raised $1.7 billion in a private initial coin offering (ICO) for its Gram tokens.

Ran NeuNer, host of CNBC’s “Cryptotrader” show, added a few potential reasons for Marcus’ move, and asked his Twitter followers for others.

NeuNer, in a subsequent tweet, further noted Facebook could easily create a cryptocurrency wallet and leverage it across its platforms, making it the “world’s biggest financial and trade market place” with over 2.5 billion users.

Marcus revealed he would be leaving a position as head of Facebook Messenger back in May, to focus on Facebook’s blockchain team, a few months after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed he was learning about cryptocurrencies.

Sources who spoke to Business Insider claim Facebook is set to use blockchain technology to create a foundation that’ll allow it to “target an array of possible opportunities,” implying the social media giant is making a long-term bet on the new technology.

Facebook job ads have shown it’s expanding its cryptocurrency group, and that it’s hiring a blockchain public policy manager. The company recently hired for its blockchain team Shashwat Gupta, a former product manager at Samsung Pay, who removed blockchain from his LinkedIn profile after the media looked into it.

Commenting on Marcus’ decision, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong stated:

David Marcus has been a wonderful addition to the Coinbase board, providing valuable perspective and mentorship. He remains a close friend of the company, and we thank him for his help along the start of our journey to create an open financial system for the world.

Brian Armstrong

Coinbase itself has seen its popularity decline as cryptocurrency prices drop. The company has, however, been considering adding various new cryptocurrencies, and has launched several institutional grade products and services.