This year proved to be a rough time for Facebook. With the Senate hearing and investigation, the drop in market value and the issue on the invasion of privacy, Mark Zuckerberg and his team labors constantly to keep the platform afloat. In addition to this, there is a buzz going around that blockchain may soon post a threat to this tech giant. Instinctively, Facebook has an answer.
As proven by history, their team tries hard to make its products as relevant as possible. When statistics showed that younger people shifted to Instagram to post their photos, Facebook bought the app out. When people began to utilize Snapchat, Facebook spent billions of dollars to make sure it has the leading platform for messaging.
In May, Facebook created a team fully dedicated to exploring blockchain and its possibilities. It assigned former lead of FB Messenger, David Marcus, to head the newly established team. Marcus is also one of the board members of another crypto start-up called Coinbase. Just this week, however, he announced that he is leaving Coinbase to focus on the Facebook Crypto team to avoid conflict of interest.
With the recent change in the internal organization of Facebook, some changes are likely about to begin. The big question is, “What’s in it for the consumers?” Certainly, the way Facebook adopts the technology will impact its users. As we know, blockchain’s structure is decentralized which is the total opposite of Facebook’s architecture. The manner by which the company will make use of the technology remains unanswered. An idea that lingers though is that which involves payments. Facebook may utilize the technology to facilitate payments among friends, or between buyers and sellers within its platform. Nevertheless, this is still speculation.
Despite dipping its toes in the blockchain technology, allegations of the creation of a new cryptocurrency are denied. Even the looming partnership with Stellar was said to be false. Facebook opined that the team is not discussing any possible partnership yet.
In the Philippine setting, these innovations may have significant effects on Filipino users. Statistics show that this year, the number of Filipino Facebook users is already at the 40 million mark—almost two-thirds of the entire population of the country. The average amount of time spent online is 3.2 hours and a good chunk of that time is spent on Facebook.
With the extreme Facebook culture the Filipinos have, the introduction of functions such as peer-to-peer payment thru blockchain technology can surely impact their lives. Imagine millions of individuals conducting their transactions within an app they are already using and accustomed to. The transition from traditional payment systems to the blockchain platform may be done in a smoother fashion. This is because of the fact that Facebook is not at all alienating and intimidating. It is something Filipinos understand and enjoy. Facebook Marketplace can also benefit from the proposed improvements. Many small businesses utilize this feature and Filipino users are becoming more open to online shopping.
If blockchain is embedded in the feature, it will be easier for potential buyers to trust the marketplace. These are only a few of the many possible scenarios that may happen in the future should Facebook finally decide to introduce the technology in the app. However the Facebook team decides to pursue this endeavor, people can only hope for one thing, and that the development would exist to make their lives a little bit better.