Since 2009, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg christens each new year by posting his annual personal challenge that he uses as the basis of reflection and further development throughout the year to come. In 2017, his goal was to travel to all the American states that he was yet to visit and meet new people in each one. This year, his resolution is vastly different.
Digital Giant Takes on Cryptocurrencies
Mark Zuckerberg’s challenge for 2018 is to address matters such as shielding hatred and abuse through community protection; preventing nation states’ interference, and increasing the value of time spent on Facebook. And all of this he has hinted that he is looking to tackle through the underlying technology of cryptocurrency.
In his public Facebook post of January 4, 2018, he has suggested that a critical aspect for addressing these issues through the use of technology is linked to the recent debate regarding centralized versus decentralized systems. According to Zuckerberg, a significant amount of people who choose to work in the broad field of technology do so with the aim of empowering people through what he calls a “decentralizing force that puts more power in people’s hands.”
The 33-year-old CEO who operates in the same net worth bracket of Warren Buffett and Bill Gates goes on to share that the above aim is not always met, with the result being people’s growing distrust when it comes to technology.
“Many people have lost faith in that promise. With the rise of a small number of big tech companies — and governments using technology to watch their citizens — many people now believe technology only centralizes power rather than decentralizes it.”
He continues: “There are important counter-trends to this –like encryption and cryptocurrency — that take power from centralized systems and put it back into people’s hands. But they come with the risk of being harder to control. I’m interested to go deeper and study the positive and negative aspects of these technologies, and how best to use them in our services.”
His brief mention of cryptocurrency has led many to believe that he is putting far more resources into the industry than he cares to admit, with a slight chance that his vendetta against the Winklevoss brothers has left him uninterested in endorsing it publicly.
Indeed, should he choose to enter the cryptocurrency arena, he would be trailing five years behind the twins, who have already cemented their name in the field through the fortune they earned from an early bitcoin investment.
Still, the benefits of blockchain and other underpinning technology are foolish to ignore, especially for Facebook. As a measure of its popularity, it is the third most visited site in the United States, outranked only by Google and Amazon respectively.
Moreover, broadening its payment horizons would come as a key move for the social media platform, as it would bring the company closer to Asian rivals such as WeChat. Seeing that China has the world’s largest population, the strategic action may mean that Facebook begins adopting payment methods similar to WeChat Pay and AliPay, which are used more widely than cash in China.
Coinify’s Mark Højgaard has shared his expert opinion on the matter, stating that it would be a good direction for Facebook to follow.
“It definitely makes sense for Facebook users globally to send some kind of token to each other,” he said. “This could be currency or something else like points that you can redeem them for things within the Facebook ecosystem, like premium content.”
If these are indeed the lines that Facebook is thinking along, there could not be a better way to implement these advancements than cryptocurrency and blockchain technology.