David Marcus, a vice president at Facebook has resigned from the board of directors at cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase.
His new assignment at Facebook leading the social media giant’s blockchain strategy was the reason why he stepped down.
Marcus steps down to focus on Facebook’s Blockchain initiative
Marcus who has been a vice president at Facebook for four years now joined the Coinbase board in December 2017.
Marcus, who was a former president at PayPal, joining the board led to excitement, with CEO Brian Armstrong happy that he would apply his expertise to guide Coinbase in its overall mission.
Few months after that, Marcus was selected to lead Facebook’s new blockchain research team.
The social media company has so far been silent about the work it is doing in the field, though Marcus’s team has less than a dozen members.
Business Insider reported on Friday that Facebook is currently speaking to several cryptocurrency projects on how it can leverage the technology, including Stellar, which developed the XLM cryptocurrency.
Marcus had made remarks in the past that revealed that Facebook may embrace blockchain. He specifically talked about the idea of sending cryptocurrency payments through its Messenger app.
Conflict of interest led to the resignation
While talking to CoinDesk on Friday, Marcus stated that he had to resign due to the new group he is 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 have 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.”
Lucas Nuzzi, director of technology research at Digital Asset Research believes that even though Facebook is yet to announce how it intends to harness blockchain, some analysts believe the company will follow in the footsteps of other players and issue its own cryptocurrency or token.
If that happens, then Marcus been on the Coinbase board will lead to a conflict of interest as he could lobby the exchange to list a Facebook token.
Marcus’s resignation comes less than a month after the social media giant removed Coinbase from its blanket ban on cryptocurrency-related ads.
Last month, Armstrong tweeted that Coinbase’s advertisements would once again appear on the platform.
Few weeks before that, Facebook revealed that it would update its policy to enable ads that promote cryptocurrency and related content from pre-approved advertisers.
Facebook has yet to explain why Coinbase was exempted from the ban.
Coinbase ads can now be found on both Facebook and Instagram, which Facebook owns. Coinbase hasn’t made any efforts towards replacing Marcus, a Coinbase spokesperson revealed.
At the moment, 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 Coinbase’s board.
In his statement, Armstrong noted that Marcus has been a wonderful addition to the Coinbase board, providing valuable insight and mentorship. He added:
“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.”
Marcus delivers impressive results with Messenger
Marcus is the head of Facebook Messenger. Under his leadership, Messenger monthly user numbers jumped from 300 million to more than 1 billion, and the service added features like video chat, peer-to-peer payments, and games, and opened up to developers.