Disintermediating Facebook

Facebook could use blockchain technology for payments on the social network, by creating its own cryptocurrency, blockchain experts say. But the debate mounts. (Pic Source: Pixabay)

Payments, privacy or reward? The recent appointment of David Marcus as head of the team which will be experimenting with blockchain has prompted speculation.

For instance, Silicon Republic stresses this is a serious step also considering the people who will work with him including Instagram engineering chief James Everingham and Instagram product chief Kevin Weil.

Mr Marcus, a former president of PayPal, is a key figure of Facebook as he is the current Vice President of Messaging Products and heads the Facebook Messenger unit.

He made the announcement in a Facebook post on 8 May 2018 following rumours that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is interested in creating his own cryptocurrency.

The Independent asks:

Is Facebook about to launch its cryptocurrency?

Indeed, with over 2 billion users, the British media title argues, Facebook could create the world’s first mass market cryptocurrencypost.

From a different angle, Recode suggests Facebook might use blockchain technology for encrypted data storage. This could be also a viable option considering the recent Cambridge Analytica scandal as well as the new GDPR regulation in the EU, The Market Mogul suggests.

In the realm of possibilities, blockchain would also give Facebook a boost for developing innovative payment solutions. Leading trade title, pymnts.com, contends:

According to Facebook observers this week, a natural place to test such payments would be the social media company’s Messenger and WhatsApp tools.

However, one of the key limitations of Facebook’s attempt is related to the fact that the power of the company is “tied to its centralized database”, a blockchain entrepreneur notes whilst Zuckerberg recalls the philosophy behind Facebook: power to people.

Whatever the direction, the move of creating a new lab to investigate the blockchain is a “really smart” one according to the head of blockchain at the World Economic Forum, Ms Sheila Warren, interviewed by the FT. For sure,

You’ll learn a lot about what Facebook is by what they think they are going to do with some of these technologies, digital activist Brewster Kahle states.