Cheddar reports that Facebook has acquired the crypto startup Chainspace, suggesting they’re pushing ahead, fast, with reported plans to build a stablecoin—a cryptocurrency that would have a steady value relative to a global currency, probably the U.S. dollar. There have been very few similar acquisitions of blockchain firms by existing, non-blockchain tech firms. In fact, this may be the first deal of its kind.
This is, a Facebook spokesperson told Cheddar, a so-called “acqui-hire,” or talent acquisition. The researchers that founded the startup, some from University College London, have or will join Facebook’s blockchain group. What they were working on is still relevant, though. Chainspace appears to have been focused on sharding technology, a potential way of allowing blockchains to accommodate a large number of transactions—something that for now remains a necessary sacrifice for decentralization. And nothing would need to scale farther or faster than a Facebook Coin.
Cheddar doesn’t report any details about deal size, but this is, inarguably, stellar news for the future of blockchain and cryptocurrency as a business sector. One acquisition by the likes of Facebook is enough to set off a number of chain reactions, including venture capital pouring into potential future acquisitions, and competitors looking for their own targets.
What is much less clear is whether there is anything to celebrate here for those who believe in the ideals of decentralization, mass empowerment, and privacy that originally drove the creation of cryptocurrency. As we wrote last month, Facebook is now unambiguously a force for evil in the world: a rapacious mind-control machine that foments ethnic cleansing, subverts democracy, and is leaving our children brain-addled.
Now imagine what they’ll accomplish with their own currency.