David Marcus was born in France, grew up in Paris and Geneva and showed an interest in technology from his earliest years. At 23, he founded his first business – Internet service provider GTN – and then sold it.
Related: Who’s David Marcus: Bitcoin Believer Became Co-Creator of Facebook Libra
Marcus is currently the head of Calibra, a subsidiary of Facebook and the official wallet provider for the cryptocurrency Libra. He was a former Facebook product manager and was a member of the Coinbase board of directors in 2018. Prior to that, Marcus was president of PayPal after the takeover of the payment company Zong which he created in 2018 by the financial services giant.
Reveal the Libra
In late 2018, Facebook’s initiative to develop its own digital stablecoin propelled Marcus into the spotlight of the crypto scene, as the tech entrepreneur led the effort. Following the official announcement of the Libra project, Marcus became a frequent news editor by trying to allay concerns about the project or by giving assurances about its future.
Most importantly, Marcus became a crucial figure in July 2019 after being summoned by the United States Congress to appear in two hearings for several consecutive days in order to respond to harsh criticism from lawmakers.
Prior to the hearings, Marcus wrote a letter to democratic representative Maxine Waters – who had previously called Facebook to Capitol Hill – in which he said that Calibra and the Libra Association would cooperate with lawmakers. Marcus said:
“I want to give you personal assurance that we are committed to taking the time to do it right.”
During hearings before the Senate Banking Committee in the United States, Marcus received difficult questions. Although Marcus himself called the conversation was subsequently “reflected” on Twitter, the general consensus is that lawmakers were not sold on Libra, as evidenced by the sharp drop in the price of Bitcoin (BTC).
BTC prices plunging on July 16 and 17. Source: Coin360.com
The next day, Marcus was faced with an even tougher crowd as he answered questions from the Financial Services Committee of the United States House. Democrat representative Brad Sherman finally summoned CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg to the Hill, apparently dissatisfied with what Marcus had to say.
On September 25, Marcus wrote a detailed blog post on the advantages that a blockchain-based payment system like Libra can have compared to traditional methods. According to him, “the existing” monetary networks “are closed and poorly interconnected”, which makes them ineffective. They also require large pools of liquidity and the participation of numerous intermediaries.
Marcus concluded the message by saying that he thought that the way of Libra is ambitious, because it does not follow the traditional system. He reiterated his desire to give life to this idea, perhaps to try to reassure the stakeholders of the project that Facebook is not dismayed by the regulatory decline:
“This is why we decided to take the most ambitious path, and why we are so determined to carry it out.”
In a series of tweets in early October, Marcus made several reassuring statements regarding the safety of Libra, the availability of information and the readiness of association members to remain loyal to the project during difficult times. One tweet in particular Noted:
“The tone of some of these reports suggests anxiety, etc. I can tell you that we are working very calmly and confidently to resolve the legitimate concerns that Libra has raised by bringing the value of digital currencies to the forefront. “
On October 14, Marcus became a member of the board of directors of the Libra Association, representing Facebook. The other four seats were occupied by Kiva Microfunds, venture capitalist Andreessen Horowitz, Xapo Holdings Limited and PayU.
A few days later, Marcus said in an interview that he has been following Bitcoin since 2012 and that he was an avid supporter of the coin and thought it was digital gold, which also means that it is is not a currency in his books.
He also clarified that the BTC looks nothing like Libra and that if the successful token was a stable currency, he would work to get it into the Calibra wallet instead of offering a new cryptocurrency.
On October 20, it became clear what Marcus meant, as it was reported that the Libra cryptocurrency could now be based on a pool of stable coins representing national currencies, saying, “This is one options that should be considered. “
Marcus ended October 2019 by stating that the procedures for combating money laundering and getting to know your client will be much stricter on the Libra network than elsewhere. It is unclear whether this was an excavation in other cryptocurrencies or an attempt to silence critics of Libra who claim that the project would be riddled with privacy concerns similar to those Facebook has faced in the past.
At the Money 20/20 event, Marcus said, “I mean the effectiveness of enforcing sanctions can be much higher on Libra than on other payment networks.” He also added that regulators will be able to track down bad players on the network, providing another indication of how Libra might work:
“The open ledger – the blockchain – allows regulators to watch what’s going on and identify where the risk is without relying on reports.”
In a similar vein, on November 7, Marcus said in a panel that the Calibra portfolio and Facebook would not share or mix the data, adding that:
“We have built very strong firewalls between Calibra and Facebook so that if you are on the Facebook side, no one can have access to this data.”
To bring the point home, Marcus confirmed that to ensure that the two companies are separate, their relationship could be audited to ensure customers’ trust in the crypto platform. In the same interview, Marcus also confirmed what many believed from the start: he was waiting for a close look at the announcement of Libra.
It is fair to say that despite David Marcus making the headlines while auctioning Libra, he has become one of the few to speak on behalf of cryptography, especially before American lawmakers. Nevertheless, one of his most beloved tweets is about Tesla’s Cybertruck rather than its own cryptocurrency – which may be indicative of the enthusiasm for Libra it will have to fill in 2020.
David Marcus is ranked # 2 in the first Cointelegraph Top 100 in crypto and blockchain.