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Facebook's David Marcus Steps Down From Coinbase's Board

David Marcus is stepping down from the board of directors at cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, citing his new assignment at Facebook leading the social media giant’s blockchain strategy.

Marcus, a vice president at Facebook since 2014, joined the board at Coinbase, now valued at $8 billion, in December of last year. At the time, CEO Brian Armstrong said Marcus, who was once president of PayPal, would apply his expertise in the “payments and mobile space” to guide Coinbase in its overall mission.

Five months later, Marcus was named Facebook’s new blockchain research lead. The company has not released any details about the work it is doing in the field, though Marcus’ team reportedly has fewer than a dozen members. He has notably indicated in past remarks that Facebook may embrace blockchain, specifically referencing the idea of sending cryptocurrency payments through its Messenger app.

In a statement provided to CoinDesk Friday, Marcus said his decision to resign was “because of the new group I’m setting up at Facebook around blockchain.”

He added:

“Getting to know Brian, who’s become a friend, and the whole Coinbase leadership team and board has been an immense privilege. I’ve been thoroughly impressed by the talent and execution the team has demonstrated during my tenure, and I wish the team all the success it deserves going forward.”

A Coinbase spokesperson said Marcus’ decision to step down was made to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest, but declined to elaborate.

His departure comes less than a month after Facebook exempted Coinbase from its blanket ban on cryptocurrency-related ads. Armstrong tweeted in July that the exchange’s advertisements would once again appear on the platform, though Facebook did not announce any reversal in its official policy or explain why Coinbase specifically received a carve-out.

Coinbase ads now appear on both Facebook and Instagram, which Facebook owns.

There are currently no efforts underway to fill Marcus’ board seat, a Coinbase spokesperson said.

DFJ Venture Capital’s Barry Schuler, Andreessen Horowitz’s Chris Dixon and Katie Haun, Union Square Ventures’ Fred Wilson, IVP’s Tom Loverro and Coinbase co-founder Fred Ehrsam remain on the exchange’s board.

Armstrong said in a statement that Marcus has “been a wonderful addition to the Coinbase board, providing valuable insight and mentorship,” adding:

“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.”

David Marcus image via Anthony Quintano / Flickr

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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Facebook's David Marcus to Lead New Blockchain Research Unit

Social media giant Facebook is launching a team dedicated to exploring blockchain technology.

The initiative will be spearheaded David Marcus, who has served as the company’s vice president for its Messenger app division. Marcus is a former president of PayPal.

“After nearly four unbelievably rewarding years leading Messenger, I have decided it was time for me to take on a new challenge. I’m setting up a small group to explore how to best leverage blockchain across Facebook, starting from scratch,” Marcus wrote in a post on his Facebook page on Tuesday.

A report from Recode indicated that while the team will have fewer than a dozen people, it will feature engineering and product staff from Facebook’s Instagram unit as well.

Although it remains unknown at this stage the exact work to be carried out by the new team, the news marks a notable move by the social media giant.

It also follows a remark made by the ex-PayPal president – who joined the board of directors of crypto exchange Coinbase last year – that Facebook Messenger is open to the idea of embracing cryptocurrency payments once the blockchain community can “fix all the issues.”

The formation of Facebook’s new blockchain team follows a platform-wide ban on cryptocurrency-related ads, with the social media company cciting concerns that users had been exposed to fraudulent ICOs and cryptocurrency schemes.

Facebook image via Shutterstock

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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Ex-PayPal President: Facebook Messenger Unlikely to Support Crypto

Facebook Messenger is unlikely to embrace cryptocurrency payments anytime soon according to David Marcus, Facebook’s vice president of messaging.

In a recent interview with CNBC, the former president of PayPal pointed to perceived issues with existing cryptocurrencies, specifying high transaction fees and slow transaction times as reasons why the product isn’t likely to introduce the technology as a payment method, at least in the near term.

However, Marcus, who joined the board of Coinbase in late 2017, did leave the door open to allowing such payments in the future, saying that when blockchain developer communities “fix all the issues,” it’s possible that the company will “do something” to open up the option.

The comments notably follow Facebook’s ban on cryptocurrency-related ads. Announced last week, the social media giant cited concerns that users were being exposed to fraudulent ICOs and cryptocurrency schemes amidst what has been a wave of regulatory actions to start 2018.

During the interview, Marcus reiterated these concerns, saying the ban was part of a move to “protect the community.” Fraudulent ICOs can reflect poorly on the entire cryptocurrency space, and according to Marcus, “a vast majority of these ads were a scam.”

Still, cryptocurrency and ICO-related content may return to Facebook in the future, Marcus said.

He told CNBC:

“Once the industry self regulates a lot better and you have better more legit products that want to be advertised on the platform. When we get to that stage, we’ll figure out a way to reintroduce these things.”

Facebook image via Shutterstock

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is an independent media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. Have breaking news or a story tip to send to our journalists? Contact us at news@coindesk.com.

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Facebook Messenger VP Joins Coinbase's Board of Directors

Digital currency exchange startup Coinbase has announced the appointment of a Facebook executive to its board of directors.

In joining the board, David Marcus, vice president of messaging products at Facebook, will bring years of experience in building large-scale mobile products, according to a Coinbase statement posted yesterday.

Previously president of online payment giant PayPal, Marcus said that he has been “fascinated by cryptocurrencies since 2012,” and that the technology “has the potential to materially change the lives of people around the world.”

He joined Paypal after his own mobile payment startup Zong was bought up by eBay for nearly a quarter of a billion dollars in 2011.

Brian Armstrong, CEO and co-founder of Coinbase, said:

“David’s knowledge of both the payments and mobile space will help guide us in achieving our mission of creating a truly open financial system that will bring opportunity to people all across the globe.”

The announcement came the same day that Coinbase temporarily halted trading for litecoin and ethereum due to a “major outage” amid surging prices for both cryptocurrencies.

With bitcoin’s price also rampant, the firm has been onboarding record numbers of new users, while the firm’s iOS app has climbed to the top spot on Apple’s U.S.-based App Store.

Facebook Messenger image via Shutterstock

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is an independent media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. Have breaking news or a story tip to send to our journalists? Contact us at news@coindesk.com.