In May 2018, David Marcus the boss of Facebook’s Messenger announced via Twitter that he will head up a “small group” to examine how Facebook could become involved in blockchain technology.

“Small” can be interpreted here as a relative term. In this case, according to various online reports, the small group Marcus oversees may include as many as 1,000 people. Small or not, the move signals that Facebook owner Mark Zuckerberg is serious about becoming involved in blockchain. So, why is he serious about it and how is Facebook planning to use blockchain?

An explanation for the uninitiated: Blockchain is the technology behind Bitcoin, the international crypto-currency created in 2008. Blockchain allows users in a network to share information without it first passing through a server. In other words, updates made on one node are independently updated on all other nodes within the network, even though there is no master copy.

Bitcoin isn’t the only possible use for Blockchain. Commentators say it has potential applications in a lot of areas, like personalized health, financial services, and more.

Facebook’s involvement has raised eyebrows because, in one key way, it and Blockchain are opposites. Blockchain decentralizes the power over data and gives it to everyone who uses it, while Facebook gets its power by centralizing control of data.

Anyway, since Marcus’ announcement there has been no shortage of speculation about what he, Zuckerberg and Facebook are up to. They have provided few clues, although a spokesperson did confirm that they are not focusing on any one use for blockchain.

The Internet has thrown up a list of possible motives behind the move.

First off, they might be looking to use a Bitcoin-like system for payments (maybe to be used with whatsapp or Messenger) or for a new way to buy and sell goods online. Also, they may be thinking about creating a high quality ID verification system for users or a way to deal with advertising fraud. Or they may want use blockchain to improve content quality and efficacy.

Then again, Facebook may mainly be concerned with making sure they are a big part of the new technology in case any opportunities (or threats) arise. By ensuring that they are not left behind, they will be ready for whatever eventuates. 

Blockchain advocates claim it is going to change the world, so from that point of view, this last approach makes perfect sense.
 
Speak to our Social Media Specialists today to find out more, digital@imab2b.com.

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