Social Media Giant Facebook Acquires Blockchain Startup Chainspace

Blockchain, News | February 5, 2019 By:

Social media giant Facebook has reportedly made its first blockchain-related acquisition by acquiring Chainspace, a small blockchain startup founded by researchers from University College London.

Citing unnamed sources, news outlet Cheddar reported that the social media giant acquired Chainspace in an acquihire, an act or instance of buying out a company primarily for the skills and expertise of its staff. Four of the five researchers behind Chainspace’s academic white paper will reportedly join Facebook’s blockchain group, which was formed last year and is led by former PayPal President David Marcus.

According to its website, Chainspace is a planetary scale smart contracts platform that powers a community of makers, which are committed to building decentralised services.

“Chainspace is a decentralized infrastructure, known as a distributed ledger, that supports user defined smart contracts and executes user-supplied transactions on their objects,” Chainspace said. “The correct execution of smart contract transactions is verifiable by all. The system is scalable, by sharding state and the execution of transactions, and using S-BAC, a distributed commit protocol, to guarantee consistency. Chainspace is secure against subsets of nodes trying to compromise its integrity or availability properties through Byzantine Fault Tolerance (BFT), and extremely high-auditability, non-repudiation and `blockchain’ techniques.”

A Facebook spokesperson confirmed that former Chainspace employees are working in its blockchain group, but declined to comment on specific hires.

“Like many other companies, Facebook is exploring ways to leverage the power of blockchain technology,” the spokesperson said. “This new small team is exploring many different applications. We don’t have anything further to share.”

In December 2018, it was reported that Facebook embarked on an aggressive hiring spree to woo crypto experts to expand its blockchain group. In addition to Marcus, the blockchain unit reportedly includes people who have worked on Google Pay and Samsung Pay. Later that month, the social media giant was said to be developing a cryptocurrency that will let users transfer money on its encrypted mobile-messaging app WhatsApp.