(Bloomberg) – Facebook Inc. announced a new team to pursue payment and commerce opportunities, and put David Marcus, co-creator of his cryptocurrency project Libra, in charge of the initiative.
Internally known as F2, short for Facebook Financial, the team will run all payment projects, including Facebook Pay, the company̵7;s global payments feature it plans to build inside of all. its applications.
Marcus will continue to run Novi, which is building a digital wallet to hold the Libra cryptocurrency. He will also be involved in WhatsApp payment efforts in countries like India and Brazil. Facebook hired former Upwork Inc. CEO. Stephane Kasriel served as vice president of payments under Marcus. Facebook shares fell 1.5% to $ 264.26 on Monday, after hitting a record late last week.
This is the latest step in a company-wide effort to bring Facebook products and individual apps together. Over the past two years, it has rebranded Instagram and WhatsApp so people know they are owned by Facebook, and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has announced plans to integrate all of the company’s messaging services.
“We have a lot of commerce going on on Facebook,” said Marcus. “It looks like the right thing to do to streamline a company-level strategy for all payments.”
The belief is that if a user can make a purchase on Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp, then Facebook ads will be more valuable and users will spend more time inside company apps. During Facebook’s second-quarter earnings press conference last month, Zuckerberg said he was “quite excited” about the commerce inside messaging apps. “As payments grow on Messenger and WhatsApp, and as we can roll out that feature in more places, I think that will only grow as a trend,” he added.
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Marcus is a payments veteran and a trusted CEO in the company. He joined Facebook in 2014 as chairman of PayPal Holdings Inc. and ran Facebook Messenger for four years before taking over Libra.
One priority would be to receive payments running inside WhatsApp in India and Brazil. The company has invested heavily to make WhatsApp a commercial destination in those markets, but regulation has stalled their payment efforts in both countries.
Marcus is most recently working to make Libra a cryptocurrency for cross-border payments. That requires talks with regulators and experience that could help Facebook’s other payment initiatives.
“It would be very helpful to have the specific expertise in financial services regulation to build things up the right way from the start. “In the world of financial services, it’s very different from traditional unregulated technology companies.”
(Add Facebook share in third paragraph.)
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