David Marcus, now head of Facebook Financial or F2, testifying about Facebook’s proposed digital currency previously known as Libra, during a Senate Banking, House and Urban Affairs Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, July 16, 2019. The cryptocurrency was renamed Diem in December 2020.
Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images
David Marcus, the head of Facebook parent company Meta‘s cryptocurrency efforts, announced on Tuesday he will be leaving the company at the end of the year.
Marcus’s departure comes after the company tried and failed to launch a cryptocurrency that could be used to send money online to anyone in the world via Facebook products.
Marcus joined Meta, the company formerly known as Facebook, in August 2014 after a two-year stint as president of PayPal. Marcus’s initial role at Facebook was as vice president in charge of the company’s Messenger service. He left the Messenger division to launch Facebook’s financial projects unit in May 2018.
That division announced the company’s Libra blockchain currency and the Calibra digital wallet in June 2019, saying that the hope was for both projects to go live in 2020.
Neither project saw the light of day in 2020 after Facebook faced stiff backlash against it cryptocurrency ambitions from lawmakers and regulators worldwide. The company finally released its digital wallet product, renamed as Novi, in October. But the digital currency, which is now named Diem and is run by an independent association, remains unreleased to the public.
“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,” Marcus said in a tweet thread announcing his departure.
Marcus’s departure follows that of other key executives who led Facebook’s ill-fated efforts in blockchain. Fellow project founder Morgan Beller left the company in September 2020 to go into venture capital. Kevin Weil, another one of the project founders, left in March to join Planet, a San Francisco company with a fleet of satellites that take photos of the earth once every day, providing users with imagery that demonstrates how the earth changes.
“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,” wrote Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a comment on Marcus’s Facebook profile.
Executive Stephane Kasriel will replace Marcus as the head of the company’s Novi financial products division, Marcus said in his departure announcement.
“I can’t wait to witness this from the outside,” Marcus tweeted. “I know there’s greatness ahead.”