David Marcus, the executive in charge of Facebook’s (Meta’s) cryptocurrency efforts, has announced he is leaving the firm.

Marcus announced his departure in a Twitter thread, in which he confirmed he is leaving Facebook at the end of the year.

The departure of Marcus should come as no surprise, considering Facebook’s attempt to launch the Libra cryptocurrency that could be used by online users to send money to anyone in the world via Facebook products, failed to get off the ground.

Facebook’s David Marcus. Facebook

Libra/Calibra

Marcus joined Meta in August 2014 after a two-year stint as president of PayPal, CNBC reported.

Marcus’s initial role at Facebook was as vice president in charge of the Messenger service. He left that role to take over the launch Facebook’s financial projects unit in May 2018.

That financial projects unit surprised the world when it announced the Libra blockchain currency and the Calibra digital wallet in June 2019, and said it planned to launch it by June 2020.

But the project was widely criticised by regulators around the world, including France, the Bank of England, and the US Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell, as well as others.

This sustained pressure and pushback from politicians and regulatory bodies globally, caused the project in March 2020 to announced it was to ‘rethink’ its plan for Libra.

And then in April 2020 the Facebook-backed Libra project drastically reduced the scope of its planned cryptocurrency.

The independent, Geneva-based project, whose development was led by Facebook, was originally intended as an electronic medium of exchange backed by an array of assets, but independent of any national currency.

Critics, including central banks and regulators, had argued this would create a host of risks ranging from money-laundering to the destabilisation of state-backed currencies.

Neither Libra blockchain currency and the Calibra wallet were realised, but Facebook did finally released its digital wallet product, renamed as Novi.

The digital currency, which is now named Diem, remains unreleased to the public.

Marcus departure

“Personal news: after a fulfilling seven years at Meta, I’ve made the difficult decision to step down and leave the company at the end of this year,” tweeted Marcus on Tuesday.

“While there’s still so much to do right on the heels of launching Novi – and I remain as passionate as ever about the need for change in our payments and financial systems – my entrepreneurial DNA has been nudging me for too many mornings in a row to continue ignoring it,” he added.

“The one thing I’m the proudest of during my time here is the amazing kickass team we’ve assembled over the last three years,” he said. “This is the most resilient, passionate, determined and talented group of humans I’ve ever worked with.”

“I’m incredibly grateful to Mark for the opportunity and privilege to share a bit of the journey over the years,” he added. “I’ll keep lifelong memories and friendships from my time at the company, and I wish it well in the years to come.”

Stephane Kasriel will reportedly replace Marcus as the head of the company’s Novi financial products division.

CNBC reported that Facebook has lost other key executives involved in its blockchain project.

This included fellow project founder Morgan Beller left the company in September 2020, and Kevin Weil, another one of the project founders, who left in March.

“We wouldn’t have taken such a big swing at Diem without your leadership, and I’m grateful you’ve made Meta a place where we make those big bets,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg reportedly wrote in a comment on Marcus’s Facebook profile.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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