- David Marcus, the head of Meta’s cryptocurrency project, has announced that he will leave the company
- Marcus has been overseeing Meta’s blockchain division since May 2018
- Marcus is leaving to pursue other projects having spend large swathes of his time having to defence Libra/Diem
David Marcus, the man who spearheaded Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency before both changed their names, has left the project, now called Novi, in search of a new challenge. Marcus made the announcement on Twitter yesterday, calling working on the much-changed Libra/Diem product, which saw him testifying to congress over it, “mission-driven and intellectually stimulating” but said that the time had come to move on to other things.
Personal news: after a fulfilling seven years at Meta, I’ve made the difficult decision to step down and leave the company at the end of this year. (1/7)
— David Marcus (@davidmarcus) November 30, 2021
Marcus Was Libra Criticism Lightning Rod
Marcus joined Meta in 2014 and helped to develop the Facebook Messenger app, before leaving to head up the company’s experimental blockchain group in May 2018. The group announced the Libra cryptocurrency in June 2019, with Marcus heading up the subsidiary Calibra to oversee it. Libra immediately ran into problems, with Marcus required to defend the principles of the coin and the Libra Association backing it, which he was forced to do on numerous occasions.
Libra eventually failed to launch in its original design and saw a number of name changes; Libra was renamed Novi, Calibra was renamed Diem, and the Libra Association was renamed the Diem Association. The design of the coin itself is now a series of stablecoins related to baskets of existing currencies, with the scope massively watered down.
Working on Novi was “Mission-driven”
Marcus explained in his tweet thread how “my entrepreneurial DNA has been nudging me for too many mornings in a row to continue ignoring it” and, interestingly, that he considered his biggest achievement to have been creating a “kickass team” and not the Novi/Diem project.
Insightfully, Marcus called the time spent creating Facebook Messenger “the most fun and stimulating years of my life” and labelled building Libra/Novi as “the most mission-driven and intellectually stimulating ones.” Hardly fun, which, given the fact that Marcus was the lightning rod for much of the criticism, is hardly surprising.