Facebook Hires an MIT Professor to Help with its Cryptocurrency Plans

There has been a steady increase in the news regarding Facebook’s push for cryptocurrency and blockchain-powered technologies. Now, according to a new report, Facebook has hired an MIT professor to help with the company’s crypto efforts. Christian Catalini is on leave from MIT and working at Facebook, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Catalini is a Theodore T. Miller Career Development Professor at MIT and reportedly a prominent researcher in the field of token economics. One of his recent achievements was co-authoring a research with the University of Toronto’s professor Joshua Gans on initial coin offerings and the value of tokens.

The news regarding Facebook’s plans to launch its own stablecoin first broke back in May of last year, and Facebook has been very secretive regarding this cryptocurrency project. So far, we’ve only heard rumors and estimations from different sources. However, what is clear is Facebook’s intent to somehow integrate a blockchain-powered digital currency that it is building into many of its services like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and even Instagram down the road.

Just in the last week, news broke that Facebook is looking for a $1 billion in investments for their cryptocurrency project. The digital coin has been dubbed FaceCoin and is said to be launched as a trial in India to test out FaceCoin for micro-transactions and remittances market. Essentially, Facebook plans to let its billions of users move money through the platform and make an online purchases using the social media giant’s cryptocurrency.

Facebook is just one of the many giants of Silicon Valley who are jumping on the blockchain and cryptocurrencies’ bandwagon. Companies like Samsung, Twitter, and Telegram are also looking to adopt blockchain technology and build their own variations of a virtual currency to compete with Bitcoin.

Facebook has been in a lot of trouble over the last year or so due to the company’s bad user data protection practices. News after news broke during the past 12 months about how easily Facebook let different corporations get their hands on Facebook’s users’ data. Facebook has been trying to damage control and salvage the company’s image.

“I believe the future is private,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said this week at the company’s F8 developer conference, resonating with the company’s push to change Facebook’s image in the public eye.