Facebook’s blockchain team is working in secrecy, leading the world to speculate on the project. However, Bloomberg recently quoted a few people close to the matter, saying that the team is staffing up. The blockchain division of Facebook is now hiring several former employees of PayPal. The company’s unusual preference for hiring the former staff of a single company could signal towards its latest ambitions.
What Could Facebook Be Building?
Bloomberg previously reported that Facebook’s blockchain team is working on a digital currency project which could be used in its advertising business. It also noted that the project could be formally announced in the next quarter.
The blockchain unit was launched in May last year and currently has 50 employees. About 20% of these employees used to work with PayPal earlier. The situation doesn’t seem curious when you note that the team’s leader is David Marcus, the former president of PayPal. He is working on a quasi-reunion for his former colleagues who could use their experience in a payments company to drive similar ambitions of Facebook.
Marcus left PayPal to join Facebook as the head of its Facebook Messenger. He helped in developing Messenger as a separate product from the Facebook chat feature and now has over 1 billion users. The company is expecting him to work his magic in the new venture too.
The sources asked to remain anonymous as the project is a closely held secret for the company. Facebook declined to comment.
Is Facebook Going Into the Payments Sector?
Facebook insiders suggest that the company is working on a stablecoin, i.e., a digital currency pegged to the US dollar which doesn’t show volatile price swings. The company will be testing this new currency in India first, as it is a popular market and the company still sees room for expansion. The product is expected to allow the users to allow remittance payments using WhatsApp eventually.
WhatsApp is a popular chat app in India, and the company is already testing its payments service, WhatsApp Pay there. Recently, the company’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that the WhatsApp payments service would soon be expanded to other countries as well. He also expressed his excitement about private commerce and money transfers.