Mark Zuckerberg upping Facebook’s blockchain operation could be PR obfuscation blinder, or it could be something far juicer By
Gian Volpicelli It is tempting to think that, with the launch of its blockchain research group – helmed by erstwhile head of Messenger David Marcus – Facebook pulled a dead cat move on us. After months of Facebook-bashing over the Cambridge Analytica scandal— and by extension over Facebook’s failings in terms of data protection and accountability – the company might have used some respite.

A few days of bemused speculations on how Facebook could use a blockchain would have provided just that. But while ongoing psychological-mindfuck-related troubles on both sides of the Atlantic might have played a role in the timing of the launch, Facebook was always bound to dabble in blockchaining at some point.

Partly, that’s because everyone else in Silicon Valley is, too. Amazon, Google and Microsoft all have recently launched some projects involving blockchain technology; even Apple, in 2017, filed a patent that hinted at its interest in distributed ledgers.

Facebook had tasked a lone corporate development staffer – Morgan Beller – with looking into the subject almost one year ago; this must have seemed a good time to scale up the effort. Yet, there is something jarring about Facebook embracing this technology.

First designed as the digital scaffolding for cryptocurrency bitcoin, a blockchain is a permanent, public, online ledger that processes transactions relying on a swarm of users’ computers rather than on any single central mediator. By
Gian Volpicelli Pseudonymous bitcoin inventor Satoshi Nakamoto was very explicit about his goal of using the blockchain peer-to-peer system to do away with central banks and credit card companies. Read more from…

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