- David Marcus, the co-creator of Facebook parent company Meta’s yet-to-be-launched digital currency, Diem, is stepping down at the end of the year, he announced Tuesday.
- Marcus joined Facebook in August 2014, where he headed the tech giant’s Messenger service before moving to the company’s financial division in 2018. Marcus spent the past three years working on the tech giant’s stalled cryptocurrency project, Diem, formerly known as Libra.
- Since the Silicon Valley tech firm announced its digital currency efforts in June 2019, the project has been met with pushback from lawmakers and regulators concerned with the digital asset’s potential to enable money laundering and terrorism financing. The backlash also led to a mass exodus of the project’s original partners, including Stripe, Mastercard and Visa.
Last month, Meta launched Novi, the digital currency wallet originally designed to hold the Diem stablecoin. Diem, which Meta had hoped to launch in 2020, has yet to be released, and Novi instead is using the Paxos Dollar (USDP), with Coinbase providing custody services.
In a series of tweets and Facebook posts Tuesday, Marcus, a former PayPal executive, said he is leaving Meta to pursue other projects.
"While there’s still so much to do right on the heels of launching Novi — and I remain as passionate as ever about the need for change in our payments and financial systems — my entrepreneurial DNA has been nudging me for too many mornings in a row to continue ignoring it," he wrote.
Stephane Kasriel, vice president of product at Novi, will take over Marcus’s role, Marcus wrote in the tweet thread.
"I find comfort and confidence in knowing that they will continue to execute our important mission well under [Kasriel]’s leadership, and I can’t wait to witness this from the outside. I know there’s greatness ahead," Marcus wrote.
In a comment on Marcus’s Facebook post, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he was grateful for Marcus’s time at the company.
"We wouldn't have taken such a big swing at Diem without your leadership and I'm grateful you've made Meta a place where we make those big bets," he wrote. "You've built a great team, and while I'll miss working with you, I'm looking forward to working with Stephane to lead the team going forward."
It’s not clear what Marcus’s departure means for the future of Diem, which has faced its share of setbacks.
Libra, as it was originally known, was first pitched as a cryptocurrency backed by a basket of currencies. Amid lawmaker opposition and regulatory concerns associated with the digital asset, the project has been scaled back to a single stablecoin backed by the dollar.
Libra rebranded itself Diem last year and renamed its wallet Novi, from the original Calibra. The Diem Association in May withdrew its application for a payments system license with Swiss regulator Finma, opting instead to move its primary operations to the U.S., where its subsidiary, Diem Networks U.S., sought to register as a money services business with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).