David Marcus, the head of Facebook parent company Meta’s cryptocurrency efforts, announced on Tuesday he will be leaving the project at the end of the year. Marcus, who joined Facebook in 2014, leads crypto unit Novi and his initial role at Facebook was as vice president in charge of the company’s Messenger service. In May 2018, he left the Messenger division to launch the financial projects unit.
Marcus has been an important figure in the crypto community since his days as president of PayPal, where he was one of the first tech leaders to embrace Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. He has previously served on the board of Coinbase too.
The crypto division had many setbacks while he was in charge. 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, but neither did. Afterwards, the company’s Diem cryptocurrency project also encountered several industry and regulatory pushbacks. Last October, Meta launched a small pilot of Novi, its cryptocurrency wallet, allowing users in the U.S. and Guatemala to exchange stablecoin cryptocurrencies through the app. However, the digital currency remains unreleased to the public.
Marcus announced on a Twitter thread: “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.” And it seems he might be starting a project of his own: “I now look forward to having more free time in the months to come before I start building something new and exciting again. Onward!”
Other key executives who led Facebook’s ill-fated efforts with cryptocurrency have also resigned, such as Morgan Beller and Kevin Weil, two fellow project founders.
Stephane Kasriel, who previously worked as the head of Product for Novi and is the former Upwork CEO, will be taking over Marcus’ role when he steps down.