A recent report has shed light on the fact that Facebook’s seasoned Director of Engineering has moved to Facebook’s newly created blockchain team. This is seen by many as a sign of Facebook’s new blockchain-oriented focus.
More specifically, Facebook’s Director of Engineering – Evan Cheng – will now instead be ”Director of Engineering, Blockchain”. Cheng has updated his LinkedIn profile to reflect this most recent move to Facebook’s dedicated blockchain team, and Facebook has since then confirmed his new position.
Cheng has previously headed the Programming Languages & Runtime division at Facebook and prior to this, he held the position of Senior Manager at Apple. Supposedly, Cheng is also an advisor to several blockchain projects, such as security-centric ChainLink and Singapore-based Zilliqa.
This most recent move will see Cheng work under David Marcus, the long-time chief of Facebook Messenger, who was recently appointed to lead Facebook’s group for ”exploring” blockchain technology.
Facebook’s newfound interest in blockchain technology signals a significant shift for the company, which previously banned cryptocurrency and ICO-related ads on the platform this January.
However, it should be noted that this ban was relaxed somewhat during late June, to accommodate some cryptocurrency advertising.
The news of Cheng’s move was first reported by TechCrunch, who also stated that Facebook had promoted the former vice president of product at Instagram, Kevin Weil, to the role of VP for this new blockchain division.
The TechCrunch went on to note the importance of this executive reshuffle, and it suggested that this makes it plain that Facebook’s blockchain-related efforts are not ”just an exploratory project”.
It is unclear exactly what plans Facebook has for its blockchain project, however the sheer amount of top-tier management supposedly becoming involved with the project certainly suggests that Facebook views it as an important project.
Some have speculated that Facebook might use distributed ledger technology in order to prevent future data crises or to find its footing and explore new ventures following the highly publicized Cambridge Analytica scandal.
A report from Cheddar in May of this year suggested that Facebook was eyeing the potential launch of its own cryptocurrency, however, no such plans have been made public as of yet. It remains to be seen what Facebook’s blockchain division ultimately amounts to.
Nonetheless, Facebook is not the only major tech company to reportedly be exploring blockchain technology. Microsoft has entered into a number of different partnerships and has reportedly begun creating a platform for enterprise blockchain development.
This would seem to indicate that other large tech firms are launching blockchain ventures of their own – meaning that Facebook might feel some pressure to accelerate its own blockchain-related efforts.
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