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Facebook creating a blockchain team

Facebook creating a blockchain team
© Greg Nash

Facebook will create a new team to explore potential applications of blockchain technology, the social media company confirmed on Wednesday.

Blockchain is the technology that Bitcoin and most other cryptocurrencies are based on, and is seen as a decentralized, potentially more efficient way to organize and record information.

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The new team will be led by David Marcus, who runs Facebook’s messaging app, Messenger, and will include several dozen employees. Top Instagram executives will be joining the project, such Instagram’s vice president of engineering, James Everingham, and its vice president of product, Kevin Weil.

Messenger’s head of product, Stan Chudnovsky, is set to replace Marcus as the head of Messenger. 

Recode first reported on Facebook's new blockchain division.

The move follows Facebook CEO Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergHillicon Valley: Biden administration sanctions Russia for SolarWinds hack, election interference Instagram sparks new concerns over 'kidfluencer' culture Mark Zuckerberg, meet Jean-Jacques Rousseau? MORE saying in January that Facebook would explore potential uses of blockchain technology at Facebook.

“There are important counter-trends to this — like encryption and cryptocurrency — that take power from centralized systems and put it back into people's hands. But they come with the risk of being harder to control. I'm interested to go deeper and study the positive and negative aspects of these technologies, and how best to use them in our services,” he wrote.

The explosion in value for digital currencies over the past year has brought new attention to blockchain technology, whose nonfinancial uses are being explored by tech giants as a way to potentially make their businesses more efficient.