Facebook appears to be strengthening its interest towards blockchain technology and possibly its own cryptocurrency as the world’s largest social media platform just appointed its very first Director of Engineering, Blockchain.
Who is Evan Cheng?
The social media giant named Evan Cheng as its first Director of Engineering, Blockchain, TechCrunch reported. Cheng has been part of Facebook since 2015, according to his personal LinkedIn profile. A closer look at his background reveals his long-term experience in the field of computer engineering. Interestingly enough, before getting to his new position, he served as the Director of Engineering, Programming Languages & Runtimes at the company.
Facebook’s new head of blockchain engineering has an extensive experience working at Apple. He was with the company from 2005 until 2015, where he also occupied senior management positions, most recently Senior Manager of Low-Level tools. Cheng is also apparently an advisor at a few blockchain projects, namely ChainLink and Ziliqa, according to their respective websites.
Serious About Blockchain: Will a ‘ZuckBuck’ Follow?
Facebook’s interest towards the technology was first demonstrated in May when the company tasked the head of its Messenger to launch a blockchain research push. David Marcus, who has overseen development since 2014 leads the group which explores potential applications of blockchain-based technology.
Furthermore, after having banned cryptocurrency-related advertising in January, the social media mogul loosened their restrictions, allowing certain advertisers to promote cryptocurrency-related campaigns after receiving an approval. This has also led to rumors of Facebook buying Coinbase, the most popular cryptocurrency exchange in the U.S.
But while Facebook hasn’t released any details on its blockchain exploratory efforts, experts have speculated on the topic. Some suggest that the social media giant might try to leverage the technology to enhance protection of user data or to verify identities.
Interestingly enough, rumors started circulating in May, after an anonymous source said that the social media mogul may seriously be considering creating its very own cryptocurrency in order to allow its billions of users to make electronic payments.
The company’s new appointment comes shortly after Viber announced that it intends to launch its very own cryptocurrency. Facebook-owned WhatsApp, Viber’s direct competitor, meanwhile announced in August that it is set to launch WhatsApp Payments – a service allowing immediate bank-to-bank transfers through a Unified Payments Interface. Despite not being officially confirmed, it may be the case that Facebook is setting the scene for its own digital currency, especially as their former head of Messenger is leading the blockchain exploration task force.
It remains unclear what Facebook’s plans are, but Cheng’s appointment seems like a clear sign of the company’s serious intentions.
What do you think of Facebook’s newest appointment? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!
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