An Oligopoly In the Making: Who’s David Marcus, Facebook’s ‘Libra’ Head of Blockchain?

Jun 22 · 4 min read
  • by Jeremy Dahan, CEO of diamDEXX.
David Marcus (picture via BBC.)

Facebook’s shadow is hovering over the crypto world.

Cryptocurrency, at its core, is threatened again by the presence of the social media giant, which aims to build a monopoly over electronic payments to take the blockchain space by storm. And users –or at least those who know and have been in the space through thick and thin — start to fear the death of decentralization.

Facebook: ”Don’t worry; we’ll keep it fair.”

Billionaire Naval Ravikant ‘s comment on decentralization is spot-on on this case.

The launch of the newly confirmed stablecoin resulted in multiple personalities of the blockchain and finance industries publicly ripping Libra into pieces. To this, Facebook’s new Head of Blockchain, David Marcus, optimistically said: “To earn people’s trust, we are going to have to make a strong commitment on privacy.”

Marcus, a man of a remarkable trajectory in electronic payments, first rose to notoriety by founding Zong, a platform that allowed users to pay for items online directly through their mobile phone bills. Zong was later acquired by Paypal –by then, already a property of eBay — of which Marcus became first Vice President, and then President. David then stepped out of this charge to join Facebook as Vice President of Messaging Applications in 2014, and Coinbase’s Board of Directors in 2017. And, with Libra’s unveiling, this year has been David Marcus’ debut as Facebook’s new Head of Blockchain.

Familiar Faces, One Goal.

The confirmed members of the Libra Association (picture via The Block.)

Among his recent statements Marcus also mentioned that, although Facebook is in charge of developing Libra and integrating it into its Messaging Apps, the company will not have the sole vote behind the cryptocurrency. Instead, the social media giant will be a part of a compound called the Libra Association, some of which’s members coincidentally resemble Marcus’ resume. Joining the Libra Association implies running a node for the cryptocurrency, and requires a $580,000 investment in infrastructure, a $10 million worth of Libra investment, and complying with an elaborate list of pre-requisites.

With a roster that resembles that of a Fortune 500 list, a general concern has risen among the cryptoverse about the risks of allowing powerful corporations –especially in an alliance — to control, issue, and verify our every monetary transaction. An oligopoly seems to be in the making, one that thanks to the unregulated present panorama and the need for the issuing of stablecoins and blockchains that can be used for micropayments, could directly compete with –or serve — the world’s governments… always at decentralisation’s expense.

So, How Can Users Work Against This Concept?

Crypto believers will, once again, have to tip the scale themselves.

The crypto world’s resolve to push and help projects built on decentralized networks and platforms –with Bitcoin as its main champion — can ultimately slow down the oligopoly’s success, or even trip it completely. For this to happen, however, users need to embrace cryptocurrency as a means of payment, and not only as a speculation vehicle. Users can do this by:

· Choosing asset and crypto-backed currencies over fiat-backed ones to safeguard their profits when speculating.

· Using stable cryptocurrencies as a mean of payments whenever possible, and favour those that are integrated into new platforms.

· Promoting the principles of decentralization and the virtues of the blockchain, as well as exposing those who rely on them as ‘sale-points’ without embracing their core values.

The development and launch of Libra could either be the final slash to decentralization or the ultimate success that catapults it into the mainstream. For the good of crypto’s ultimate goal –to disrupt the current financial systems — we can only hope the latter, rather than the former, takes place before the currency’s launch in 2020.


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