Meta’s co-founder of Diem Project, David Marcus to depart company

Top cryptocurrency executive at Meta Platforms Inc., David Marcus, publicized on Tuesday his departure from Meta’s Diem Project after seven years of service to pursue different entrepreneurial projects.

Marcus joined Facebook’s team in 2014 to supervise the networking platform’s Messenger division. Then, in December 2017, he was reshuffled to take charge of the giant’s cryptocurrency and digital wallet plans. His latest appointment was driven by Facebook’s vision to issue its own digital asset, Diem, previously labeled Libra or Calibra.

Novi, a project of Facebook’s Diem association – originally co-developed as the Libra Association – will function as a monetary figure for the company’s cryptocurrency plans.

“While there’s still so much to do right on the heels of hitting an important milestone with Novi launching – 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,” Marcus said in a Facebook’s post.

The process of lifting Diem to starting point proved to be more challenging than anticipated for both Meta and the entrepreneur executive.

The project first surfaced on the scene back in 2019, with a multitude of big-league partners pitching in to mark their presence in the decentralized project. However, after the initial debut date got postponed and the original visions got held back, things began taking a different shift.

Upon Diem’s first publicized announcement, the project faced immense rejection by both regulators and lawmakers. And despite Meta still being a key partner of the Diem Association, the project runs independently from the company.

Earlier this year, Marcus unveiled a “small pilot” of the digital wallet in the United States and Guatemala but was not supported by Diem due to the authoritarian pushbacks imposed. In addition, the testimonies from whistleblower France Haugen also played a vital role in halting Facebook’s cryptocurrency plans since the regulatory gaze is now fixated on the company.

“I do want to be clear that our support for Diem hasn’t changed and we intend to launch Novi with Diem once it receives regulatory approval and goes live. We care about interoperability, and we want to do it right,” Marcus said in October amid these imposed pushbacks.

Following the news surfacing on the social networking platform, Mark Zuckerberg, who recognized Marcus as one of his most trusted lieutenants, commented on the Facebook post expressing, “I’ve learned so much working with you, and I’m grateful for everything you’ve done for this place. 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. 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.”

After Marcus’ departure from the company at the end of the year, the position will be filled by Upwork Inc.’s former CEO, Stephane Kasriel, who joined the Meta team in August 2020. Kasriel will take charge of all pending Novi and other projects formerly led by Marcus.

Marcus’ plans to leave Meta will hold immense uncertainties concerning the project’s direction, and how the departure will affect Zuckerberg’s Metaverse vision and the incorporation of Novi into his virtual and augmented universe.