It was announced in May that Facebook is getting a new blockchain team to explore the technology. It turns out, they were very serious about that announcement. They recently appointed a new engineering director dedicated to the technology.
Evan Cheng, who was a senior engineer till late, is their first “Director of engineering, Blockchain.” The new position was confirmed by Facebook on Thursday. Going by Cheng’s LinkedIn profile, he served as the director of engineering for programming languages and runtimes for almost three years at Facebook. He also worked for Apple for 10 years before that.
Cheng’s Twitter account says that his “day job – programming languages, runtimes, compilers; night job – blockchain, crypto.” This indicates that he must have some kind of expertise in that area. David Marcus, who is Facebook’s long-time head of its Messenger platform, was in charge of leading the blockchain team.
Facebook courted great controversy by banning all crypto ads back in January, but this controversy was fueled in June when they decided to revisit the ban. They have quietly made arrangements for application forms for certain types of crypto ads to be posted in June. The ban was initially placed in order to prevent people from promoting “financial products and services frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices.” The new application process will allow advertisers to get approved and promote crypto products, though ads promoting binary options and ICOs, initial coin offerings, are still banned.
This new move of reversing previous policy has led many to suggest that Facebook might not have innocent intentions. Robert Hackett of Fortune published an article in June, in which he said: “Whether Big Tech is conscious of the biases it possesses or not, there’s no denying the incumbents have an interest in smothering a would-be usurper in its crib.”
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