A sensational new rumor has been making the rounds lately – that Facebook, the social media behemoth, is eyeing an acquisition of Coinbase, one of the most popular cryptocurrency exchange platforms.
A potential acquisition would have dramatic effects on the general adoption and awareness of cryptocurrencies. Although Facebook is still reeling from the Cambridge Analytica scandal, it is still the world’s biggest social network with more than 2 billion active users each month.
As such, this rumor could easily be chalked up to wishful thinking or speculation gone awry. However, there’s actually more substance to it than one might initially assume. First and foremost, reports of a possible Facebook acquisition of Coinbase were first lifted in an article The Economist ran in early June.
What’s more, Facebook has just recently lifted its ban on cryptocurrency and ICO advertisements. This change in course comes after the social media network previously banned cryptocurrency advertisements this January, which Twitter and Google would later do as well.
Therefore, it came as somewhat of a surprise when Facebook recently announced that it would reverse its stance on cryptocurrency advertisements.
Whilst some previously argued that this reversal was motivated by Facebook being reluctant to forgo the massive market that is cryptocurrency advertising, some are now speculating that this more cryptocurrency-friendly policy could be linked to a possible Coinbase purchase.
Moreover, Facebook has recently undertaken a major management reshuffle, which also involved the launch of a blockchain technology division. This division would reportedly look at how Facebook could implement blockchain technology in its ventures and would report directly to Facebook’s CTO, Mike Schroepfer.
It is also important to mention that the man heading Facebook’s blockchain technology efforts is David Marcus, who was previously in charge of the important Facebook Messenger division. Notably, Marcus is also one of Coinbase’s board members, which established ties between the two companies.
Whether or not Marcus’ division is directly linked to a potential Coinbase acquisition, it undoubtedly demonstrates Facebook appreciation for blockchain technology.
Yesterday, a new article from The Independent added further grist to the mill of those proclaiming an imminent Coinbase purchase, which reiterated the reports of Facebook being interested in buying Coinbase.
The article quoted tech entrepreneur Oliver Isaacs as saying that it would ”not come as a surprise” if Facebook made a bid for Coinbase. Rather, the real question would be whether Coinbase would accept such an offer.
Neither Coinbase nor Facebook have commented on the rumor, however, a Facebook spokesperson did refer to a January post by Mark Zuckerberg regarding the potential of decentralized currencies.
It should be reiterated that this is only a rumor, and should, therefore, be taken with a healthy grain of salt. Nonetheless, with Facebook’s recent shift in relation to cryptocurrency advertisement still fresh, and the close ties between the two companies, it does certainly appear as if there might be fire where there’s smoke.
If Facebook were, in fact, to acquire Coinbase, it would instantly boost the public awareness of cryptocurrencies, and the entry of such an established actor would lend credence and legitimacy to the cryptocurrency sector.
It remains to be seen how this ultimately unfolds, although the mere rumor of such an acquisition is undoubtedly an interesting scenario.
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Rasmus Pihl is a writer for Toshi Times by day and an avid follower of the blockchain industry by night. Rasmus holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from the Gothenburg School of Business, Economics, and Law and runs a Swedish marketing consulting firm. Moreover, when he isn’t writing for Toshi Times, traveling, working or changing the world in some other capacity, Rasmus is more than likely caught up in postgraduate studies.