Facebook’s Blockchain Bet Could Pay Off


Facebook (FB) is beginning to attract attention as it searches for engineers for a possible big time bet on blockchain.

The company’s stock is falling as the market hurtles towards another down close on Friday, but the social media giant’s searches for the building blocks of a blockchain team might help ease shareholder pain in the long term, according to high profile cryptocurrency speculators.

Many feel the company’s clout could give it a competitive advantage both in attracting talent and in investing in the nascent space.

I bet Facebook builds the most used product in crypto.

— Pomp �� (@APompliano) December 6, 2018

“They have more 1B user products than any other company I believe,” Anthony Pompliano, Partner at Morgan Creek Digital wrote on Wednesday. “They out-executed everyone historically. You could go at most corporates, but Facebook ain’t it.”

He added that executives in charge of the unit, such as former head of messaging products and current head of blockchain David Marcus, make betting against the company “insanity.” It is worth noting that Marcus was also a board member at major cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, and formerly was president of PayPal (PYPL) .

“I’ll ride with that crew any day when it comes to building, launching, and scaling products,” he said. “Ask their competitors how it went last time.”

The company’s over 2 billion users would make the release of a cryptocurrency, possibly to be used on the platform in a decentralized fashion, a possibly extremely valuable proposition.

Beyond Bitcoin

However, beyond speculators original inclination toward cryptocurrency, there could be serious applications beyond simply creating a Zuck-Bucks or Sheryl Sand-Dollars.

“Blockchain has uses far beyond crypto,” Alex Patin, CTO of Squarelink and Harvard’s Blockchain Innovation Fellow wrote to Real Money in an email. “We’ve already seen the technology begin to take hold in the enterprise, particularly in devops applications.”

Over 50% of corporations surveyed by Juniper Research are considering applying some form or fashion of blockchain technology in their businesses. Few would seem as logical as Facebook given its ability to attract developers and tap into blockchain use for decentralized applications.

“With more decentralized app (dapp) developers coming online, you can also expect more dapps,” Patin said. “To date, most dapps have been related to crypto transactions, wallets, and token-based games. But we expect a whole host of new types of dapps – from productivity apps to a new class of social network – to emerge.”

As has become evident across other categories, industry leaders are not usually willing to be supplanted.

If there is indeed a new form of social media emerging though blockchain, CEO Mark Zuckerberg appears to be preparing for it in order to profit off of it before any of his peers.

Whether or not Facebook can be trusted with what Wharton School of Business professor Kevin Werbach calls “The New Architecture of Trust” will remain to be seen.

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