Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) is reportedly exploring a stronger push into digital payment space. The social-networking behemoth has set up a new unit called Facebook Financial, which will be in charge of all payment projects, including its WhatsApp-based digital payment service.
David Marcus, who was recruited to head Facebook’s messaging service in 2014, and then was tapped to lead the charge into cryptocurrencies, has been appointed to head the new venture. Although, Marcus already runs a portfolio of important products that are expected to drive the company’s revenue in the future.
The lifelong entrepreneur continues to head up the subsidiary Novi (formerly Calibra), which manages a digital wallet for Facebook’s proposed cryptocurrency Libra. Previously, David was president of PayPal from 2012 to 2014 and has more than 15 years of mobile and payments experience worldwide. He moved to Silicon Valley in 2008 where he founded the mobile payments company Zong.
Alongside Marcus, Facebook has also lured former Upwork CEO, Stephane Kasriel to join as a payments vice president. His decision to jump ship is raising hope that Facebook was getting serious about a payments push.
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Kasriel had served at the freelance job site for over six years and became CEO in 2015. He led Upwork’s rebranding from its old identity, oDesk; managed the merger with rival site, Elance; and took the gig economy outfit public, in 2018.
Kasriel has also a wealth of experience in payments, having served in various leadership roles for ecommerce site eBay from 2008 to 2010, and led PayPal operations in France from 2006 to 2008.
The move comes as Facebook continues its push to facilitate more payments on its major platforms, thus, allowing it to gather data on spending patterns so that it can compete with the likes of Venmo, Google Wallet and Apple Pay.
Called F2 internally, Facebook Financial will run Facebook Pay service that let users send and receive money across the company’s family of apps. WhatsApp Pay, which allows users to make purchases or transfer money directly from the chat platform, also joins the financial unit’s portfolio.