Facebook's investment in blockchain is gathering steam, The Block's review of the social-media giant's careers site has found. According to Facebook's career site, the "ultimate goal is to help billions of people with things they don't have access to now" via blockchain technology.
As of December 6, there were seven blockchain-related job listings. One listing read "Facebook is seeking an experienced Data Scientist to join the Blockchain Data Science team" while multiple software engineering roles are open on the Blockchain team, now with a capitalized "B" in multiple listings.
[related id="1"]Facebook announced in May that it had formed a blockchain team led by David Marcus, the former president of PayPal, and including Kevin Weil, former product head at Twitter and Instagram. However, a near total lack of public comment on the project has led to much speculation about what Facebook might be building.
As The Block began our review of Facebook's blockchain efforts on December 6, we reached out to Facebook about the rapid growth of the team as well as the listings that we found most interesting: a Head of Brand and Global Brand Development Lead, both with product go-to-market responsibilities. Christina Smedley, a former PayPal VP, has been Facebook's Head of Brand & Marketing, Blockchain for the past 8 months. Following our inquiry, those two listings were removed, while all others remain.
The product and brand marketing roles provide the most compelling new insights into the state of Facebook Blockchain and future product plans. In addition to Head of Brand and Global Brand Development Lead, there is a team leadership role as Product Marketing Lead with the following responsibilities: "This person will be responsible for creating our product strategy for developers and consumers, managing our product go-to-market plans and coordinating a cross-functional team to bring great solutions to connect the community."
Large tech companies like Facebook typically ramp up product and brand marketing hires once products are nearing their launch. This comes towards the end of a product's technical development phase. The roles are meant to position, prepare and pitch the product to consumers, developers and businesses.
Clear insights into the future plans of Facebook Blockchain can be gleaned from the Data Scientist job description:
At Facebook, we have established a new team building blockchain technologies. It's a small, but talented group of people, who are passionate about changing the world...
A LinkedIn search of Facebook employees with the term "Blockchain" in their title now returns 32 results, up significantly from earlier in the year. There are leaders across nearly every function - Engineering, Product,Design, Security, Public Policy, Legal, Risk & Operations, Business Development, Marketing, Strategy, Recruiting and Communications - as well as numerous individual contributors.
We're exploring lots of areas of interest across all facets of blockchain technology. Our ultimate goal is to help billions of people with access to things they don't have now - that could be things like equitable financial services, it could be new ways to save, it could be new ways to share information.
According to the job description, Facebook plans to operate their Blockchain products at global scale with a usage target in the billions. To hit those goals, Facebook is looking at multiple use cases on their Blockchain team, including financial services as well as information sharing. Given Facebook's global penetration of nearly 2.3 billion monthly users, financial services accessibility is a use case where they could have a unique advantage.
And from the now-deleted Head of Brand job description, one can glean how Facebook plans to go-to-market:
This role means leading the team in building consumer/brand programs and campaigns that connect the community to our products via channels ranging from owned media, paid media on IG and beyond, to social media, partnerships, IRL events, influencers, and more... He or she will have a successful track record of launching and scaling mass-marketing consumer products and services...
The marketing focus is clearly on consumer products and services that will reach billions. The go-to-market will involve Facebook's numerous owned channels, which include Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp, as well as a number of other scaled channels. The "mass-marketing" experience sought by Facebook indicates that the Blockchain efforts will involve significant and varied resources.
One thing is very apparent from the high profile of the team's leadership, the rapid growth of the team and the hiring of Marketing talent: Facebook is very serious about blockchain technology and its applications to financial services and information sharing. Facebook Blockchain aims to reach billions of people, and it aims to begin that journey very soon.
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