Facebook Inc. (FB) said it will create a team to study how the blockchain technology behind bitcoin can be used in developing new products. The group will be led by the head of Facebook’s Messenger team, David Marcus, who is also on the board of Coinbase, a cryptocurrency exchange.
“I'm setting up a small group to explore how to best leverage blockchain across Facebook, starting from scratch,” Marcus said in a post on his personal Facebook page regarding on his departure from Messenger.
Facebook, which recently banned ads related to cryptocurrency and initial coin offerings, has not said how it might use blockchain technology. Some speculate it could leverage the digital currency for payments or to verify someone’s ID. (See also: Facebook’s Stock May Plunge 8% Short Term.)
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg expressed interest in January in exploring the potential of blockchain technology’s decentralized system. A blockchain is a digitized public ledger of digital currency transactions that continually grows with transactions added in chronological order. It was originally developed for bitcoin, but its commercial uses are growing.
Bitcoin’s value has plummeted off its December highs of near $20,000 along with the introduction of bitcoin futures markets. Bitcoin was near $9,253.87 early Wednesday. (See also: Bitcoin Plunge from $20K Due to Futures, Says Fed.)