TECHCRUNCH: Facebook Names ‘Chief Of Blockchain’; Coinbase, Facebook Cryptocurrency Rumors Swirl

Facebook continues to circle the crypto landscape in ways that seem to be leading to larger initiatives later this year. Rumors surrounding potential acquisitions connected to cryptocurrency plays haven’t slowed down – and the naming of a blockchain executive seems well-timed and quite specific.

The social media giant named Evan Cheng as its first Director of Engineering, Blockchain, TechCrunch reported. Cheng has been part of Facebook since 2015, according to his personal LinkedIn profile. A closer look at his background reveals his long-term experience in the field of computer engineering. Interestingly enough, before getting to his new position, he served as the Director of Engineering, Programming Languages & Runtimes at the company.

Facebook’s interest in the technology was first demonstrated in May when the company tasked the head of its Messenger to launch a blockchain research push. David Marcus, who has overseen development since 2014 leads the group which explores potential applications of blockchain-based technology.

Furthermore, after having banned cryptocurrency-related advertising in January, the social media mogul loosened their restrictions, allowing certain advertisers to promote cryptocurrency-related campaigns after receiving an approval. This has also led to rumors of Facebook buying Coinbase, the most popular cryptocurrency exchange in the U.S.

In fact, that particular rumor was all the rage last week in and around crypto twitter. The rumor even birthed several memes and medium posts postulating about the potential tie-up between the two firms. We’ve attempted to chase down those rumors and get someone at either firm to give us a quote or two regarding its veracity, but have yet to get anything of substance, even on background or anonymously.

Interestingly enough, rumors started circulating in May, after an anonymous source said that the social media mogul may seriously be considering creating its very own cryptocurrency in order to allow its billions of users to make electronic payments.

The company’s new appointment comes shortly after Viber announced that it intends to launch its very own cryptocurrency. Facebook-owned WhatsApp, Viber’s direct competitor, meanwhile announced in August that it is set to launch WhatsApp Payments – a service allowing immediate bank-to-bank transfers through a Unified Payments Interface. Despite not being officially confirmed, it may be the case that Facebook is setting the scene for its own digital currency, especially as their former head of Messenger is leading the blockchain exploration task force.

It remains unclear what Facebook’s plans are, but Cheng’s appointment seems like a clear sign of the company’s serious intentions. And the old adage still remains true when it comes to rumors that appear to have some level of action behind them – ‘where there’s smoke, there is bound to be fire.’

Keep your eyes on this story, Facebook, Coinbase, and others (Robinhood we are watching you too!)