Per insiders, Facebook is currently in the midst of a notable recruitment process for blockchain developers, who will be working on a shadowed project for the payments industry. Yet, the initiative is currently having issues attracting talent in this space, due to obscurity surrounding the project and recent scandals involving poor protection of the personal data of Facebook’s consumers.
Can Facebook Attract The Best Blockchain Developers?
According to reports from Cheddar, Facebook currently has about 40 employees in its in-house blockchain consortium, including former PayPal executives and a recently-appointed head of business development. However, many highly qualified blockchain developers seem to be leery of working for Facebook, as a result of several scandals involving privacy, security, and lack of transparency at the Menlo Park startup.
In the recent Cambridge Analytica data collection scandal, Facebook faced penalties that included a fine of £500,000 for lack of transparency and failure to protect user information. More recently, a security breach exposed the user information pertaining to more than 50 million accounts managed by the social media giant.
Blockchain developers who have been in the field for longer than a couple of years probably find this news less than inspiring. Such participants may have gotten involved with blockchain and crypto in the first place, specifically because they want to basically do the opposite of what Facebook does. Case in point, many developers have made it their raison d’être to increase privacy for individuals and also increase transparency for large corporations and industries.
Facebook does not appear interested in greater transparency. Instead, it insists that recruits sign a non-disclosure agreement and refuses to share full details with potential recruits. A spokesman said in a statement to Cheddar:
“Like many other companies Facebook is exploring ways to leverage the power of blockchain technology. This new small team is exploring many different applications. We don’t have anything further to share.”
Facebook May Be Building Social Media-Based Payment Platform
That hasn’t stopped Facebook from offering hints at what it may be working on, namely, a native payments system that can work without a formal bank. Its hiring pattern may imply that it intends to build the Paypal of crypto payments, specifically via the medium of social media.
Reddcoin introduced the concept of a crypto asset for social media, and easy-to-use tipbots already make social media-based micropayments possible. From the few details that are available, Facebook is simply co-opting the idea to create a platform that it claims the unbanked can utilize. It might have been inspired by the popularity of both crypto and mobile payments across the globe.
New York University School of Law adjunct professor Drew Hinkes said of it:
“They probably are looking at China and seeing how popular mobile commerce has been there and wondering why we can’t do that.”
CEO Mark Zuckerberg has also implied that improved transparency and greater decentralization can help Facebook regain some of its lost trust. However, the lack of transparency surrounding its blockchain group tells a different story, and the company may not have learned the lessons from recent data breaches. This fact alone is probably sabotaging Facebook’s recruiting efforts, simply due to the theory that it does not inspire confidence from established blockchain developers.