Head of Meta’s Crypto Efforts, David Marcus, Is Leaving the Company
David Marcus had most recently spearheaded Meta’s push into a global digital currency.,
The head of Meta’s cryptocurrency efforts is leaving the company.
By Mike Isaac
- Nov. 30, 2021Updated 4:11 p.m. ET
Mr. Marcus, 48, a longtime Silicon Valley executive in payments and digital finance, worked on many projects during his seven years at the social media company. Most recently, he spearheaded Meta’s push into a global digital currency that could be used by Facebook and WhatsApp users to transmit payments across borders. The project, initially called Libra, was later rebranded Diem after facing pushback from regulators.
“I remain as passionate as ever about the need for change in our payments and financial systems,” Mr. Marcus said in a series of tweets. “My entrepreneurial DNA has been nudging me for too many mornings in a row to continue ignoring it.”
Mr. Marcus founded Zong, a mobile payments start-up that was acquired by the digital finance giant PayPal. After rising quickly at PayPal, he was recruited to Facebook to lead its Messenger app, growing it to reach hundreds of millions of users.
While at Facebook, Mr. Marcus was heavily involved in the rise of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, acting as an adviser to companies like Coinbase.
He parlayed that knowledge into Libra, which was a pet project of Mark Zuckerberg, Meta’s chief executive. Libra was an attempt to democratize finance so that people could use Facebook’s apps — including Messenger and WhatsApp — to send cryptocurrency to one another across the world, which they could eventually exchange for local currencies.
The project stalled when a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers questioned the company’s efforts and how much power the social network had over global social media. Mr. Marcus testified about the efforts to Congress in 2019, though it did little to assuage concerns.
The Libra cryptocurrency was eventually rebranded Diem, while the company’s efforts at a crypto wallet were called Novi. The mishmash of names often has been confusing, even for company insiders.
Mr. Marcus did not specify his future plans. Spokespeople for Meta did not immediately respond to a request for comment.