David Marcus’ Coinbase Departure Makes Way for Facebook’s Crypto Plans


David Marcus Leaves Coinbase to Focus on Facebook’s Crypto Plans?

David Marcus has held a strong force on the Coinbase board of directors until recently. He announced his departure from the company in May, stating that the conflict of interest was the main cause of his decision. Since he left, much of the industry has been curious about what will become of his vacancy.

Coinbase has easily held down the position as the leading exchange for Bitcoin, along with multiple other cryptocurrencies. They have been an obvious front-runner for the progress of blockchain, which many different industries have clung to and expanded on. Facebook has not made any public statements about their potential intentions of using this technology, but there has been talk about how big of a change that the social media network could make with it.

Keeping those options in mind, Marcus made the decisions to step away from Coinbase. One of the small investors in Coinbase, Ryan Gilbert of Propel Venture Partners, said,

“Under David's leadership Facebook is poised to be one of the leading players in crypto and an active acquirer. Who knows, one day an acquisition of Coinbase could be in the cards.”

Despite these comments, Facebook remains silent about their future with blockchain. However, he stated that the reason for Marcus leaving Coinbase was

“to avoid the appearance of conflict, rather than because of an actual conflict.”

Marcus continues to be victorious over basically any company he works with. Prior to Coinbase and Facebook, he created a payment startup. It was so successful that he sold it to PayPal and ended up becoming the president of that company. At that time, his excitement was primarily over the potential to “democratize access to cryptocurrencies.”

Marcus finally released a statement on Friday abut why he decided to leave the board, even though it was 8 months after he joined. In his statement, he said,

“Because of the new group I'm setting up at Facebook around Blockchain, I've decided it was appropriate for me to resign from the Coinbase board. Getting to know Brian, who's become a friend, and the whole Coinbase leadership team and board has 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.”

Even without a public statement from Facebook, anyone that looks closely will be able to see the hints surrounding their intentions. They have posted some job opportunities that could show where they are headed, including a manager for blockchain and a software engineering manager. The second posting describes the group for the manager as such:

“The group is a startup within Facebook, with a vision to make blockchain technology work at Facebook scale and improve the lives of billions of people around the world.”

Combining efforts between Facebook and Coinbase would not come without some difficulties. Coinbase’s operation within a market that has such stringent regulations, which would be a big responsibility to take on, especially when they have been in the spotlight for buckling down on user data protection.

Still, it is clear that Coinbase could greatly help Facebook. Coinbase is the host of 13.3 million users, which would hopefully bring more users to their database as well. Facebook has more than enough market value ($520 billion) to take on Coinbase’s size, but Coinbase has become far too successful to have any interest in being bought out.

CEO Brian Armstrong has discussed his goal of hiring an additional five senior leaders within the next quarter, along with another 59 people for their product and engineering. Coinbase is more of an acquirer anyway, rather than a company to be bought out. In fact, they’ve purchase four different companies in this quarter alone. Armstrong said,

“We're at the beginning of imagining what might be possible when we combine all of the brilliance of these teams with all the opportunity ahead of Coinbase.”

In reference to Marcus’s decisions, Armstrong maintains a positive perspective.

“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,” Armstrong said.

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