Evan Cheng, an engineering director at Facebook, appears to have gotten a new job within the company – a freshly created director of engineering position in blockchain. Facebook has been getting serious about blockchain this year, and Cheng's new position is only the most recent expression of that interest.
In May, David Marcus, who had been in charge of the Messenger unit, was given a small team to investigate blockchain technology and last month, Kevin Weil took on the title VP of Product, Blockchain. Now Cheng, formerly the director of engineering, programming languages, and runtimes has taken the title director of engineering, blockchain, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Facebook has not released any information about these new positions on its press page.
At the beginning of the year, Mark Zuckerberg announced that he was studying cryptocurrency and decentralized systems. Addressing the recent major issues that are plaguing Facebook's reputation – including the centralization of power within the tech industry, as well as government surveillance and control through tech – he said:
"There are important counter-trends to this – like encryption and cryptocurrency – that take power from centralized systems and put it back into people's hands."
There may be other, less altruistic reasons for Facebook's interest in blockchain, however. The company's image has been in trouble and blockchain technology is getting a lot of attention for its potential as a transparent, trustless technology. It would make sense that the company might use blockchain to attempt to redeem itself in the eyes of users.