Facebook is joining the likes of big tech players including Google, Amazon, VMware and IBM, and forming a group within the company to explore how best to leverage blockchain across the company. David Marcus, a top Facebook executive who previously oversaw the Messenger App, will lead the group. In a Facebook post, Marcus confirmed that he will head up a small group dedicated to this initiative.
Recode.net, which first reported the move, said that the group will have fewer than a dozen people. Besides Marcus it will include Instagram’s VP of Engineering James Everingham and VP of Product Kevin Weil.
Not much is known about the focus of Facebook’s blockchain initiative. Marcus is an interesting pick to lead the effort; before he headed up the company’s Messenger platform he was the president of PayPal. He’s also on the board of cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase.
It’s not really that surprising that Facebook is looking at blockchain since nearly all the big tech firms have formed some sort of blockchain initiatives.
In March Bloomberg, citing unidentified sources, reported that Google was working with blockchain technology and developing its own distributed ledger software to verify transactions within its cloud services.
Microsoft has said it is working on its blockchain-as-a-service for its Azure cloud platform. It is also involved in the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger project, and last summer it introduced its Coco Framework software to help enterprises adopt blockchain.
IBM, meanwhile, has introduced a blockchain service based upon the Hyperledger Fabric that enables developers to build production blockchain networks on the IBM Cloud.
VMware is expecting to trial blockchain with some customers this year. The company has been conducting research on blockchain for about three years, and last May it appointed Michael DiPetrillo as senior director of blockchain. He’s tasked with developing a proof-of-concept project using blockchain that will be rolled out to customers.