Facebook quietly hired the team behind Chainspace which is a small blockchain startup founded by researchers from University College London (UCL). Chainspace was building a decentralised “smart contracts” system that could facilitate payments through blockchain technology as well as other services.
The acquisition of Chainspace is the clearest indication to date of Facebook’s ambition to compete in the blockchain industry. Former Facebook executive and former PayPal (David Marcus) led the innovative search with the new researchers to acquire a new blockchain platform.
Four of the five researchers behind Chainspace’s white paper are joining Facebook’s blockchain core team. Two of the researchers, Alberto Sonnino and George Danezis already list their current employment as blockchain researchers in Facebook’s offices on LinkedIn.
According to Cheddar that the company had hired employees from Chainspace but Facebook isn’t acquiring any of Chainspace’s technology according to them.
“We have an alpha system running now in Golang. It does sharding, consensus & executes smart contracts. A global software consultancy is using Chainspace on the EU project Decode, creating civic services for the cities of Barcelona & Amsterdam.”
“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.”
The startup, which was founded by researchers from University College London, was reportedly working on blockchain scalability problems, notably by applying sharding to smart contracts, according to the Chainspace website.
Last year Facebook was looking to create its own cryptocurrency which Bloomberg recently reported will be a stablecoin or cryptocurrency backed by a fiat currency with their proprietary platform in WhatsApp.
Sources mention Chainspace was in the process of raising an initial round of funding of less than £3 million. Early investors of Chainspace include Lemniscap and MW Partners.
Facebook could still acquire more blockchain companies and have held talks with Algorand, a blockchain-based payments platform They raised about £40 million to date. We have had no confirmation behind this from Algorand to date.
The Chainspace website updated to say that the tech-team behind the startup is “moving on to something new”. Apparently. Chainspace could close down as Facebook has hired most of its staff.
Earlier last year the head of Facebook Messenger, David Marcus said that the company had formed a specialised group “to explore how to best leverage blockchain across Facebook, starting from scratch.” Marcus was a former board member of Coinbase.
Author: Pete Townsend / Whichbroker.com