Social media giant, Facebook, has acquired Chainspace in its first blockchain related acquisition. A statement on Chainspace’s webpage states: “We’re excited to announce that the team is moving on to something new. Chainspace code and documentation will still be open source, and all previously published academic work remains available”.
A Facebook spokesperson said that they had hired the new researchers but had not acquired any of Chainspace’s technology. A move familiar in Silicon Valley known as an acqui-hire where the acquisition of a company made primarily of the skills and expertise of its staff, rather than the service or products the company provides.
“Like many other companies, Facebook is exploring ways to leverage the power of blockchain technology,” a spokesperson said to Cheddar. “This new small team is exploring many different applications. We don’t have anything further to share.”
Three of the five co-founders of Chainspace, Alberto Sonnino, Shehar Bano, and George Danezis, have updated their LinkedIn profiles to indicate that they are working at Facebook’s London office as “blockchain researchers”.
According to an academic paper by Chainspace, their use of sharding (the process of breaking a database into smaller units to alleviate the scaling problems faced by blockchain networks) means that the new employees are likely to be beneficial in helping Facebook scale blockchain across a range of applications. With the ability to process hundreds of transactions per second per shard, it would definitely increase the scalability of blockchain-based processes.
Facebook On Lookout For Experienced Blockchain Technology Teams
Facebook have been energetically recruiting people with experience in blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies, and they have more than 40 working in their blockchain division at present.
David Marcus, the head of Facebook Messenger, and former board member of Coinbase, announced last year that the company had formed a group “to explore how to best leverage blockchain across Facebook, starting from scratch”. How much Facebook is willing to pay for acquisitions in the blockchain space is undisclosed, but they could still target more. They have held unsuccessful talks with Algorand, a blockchain-based payments platform, who have raised $66 million to date.
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