Top Facebook digital currency engineers leave to join a16z crypto team
Facebook’s top digital currency engineers have departed to join the Andreessen Horowitz crypto team. This move to the venture capital firm comes at a time when Facebook is experiencing a wave of defections and is yet to show much progress in the crypto space. Read on for more.
What’s the impact of this move?
The two engineers Riyaz Faizullabhoy and Nassim Eddequiouaq, were two of Facebook’s leads on its digital currency project. Over the past two years, they have spent their time working on Facebook’s Novi digital wallet, known initially as Calibra. However, this project is yet to launch because of stiff resistance from lawmakers and regulators across the globe.
Because of this, several high-profile leaders have also left Facebook. In September 2020, Morgan Beller, one of the founders of Facebook’s crypto unit and Novi’s head of strategy, left to join NFX, a venture capital firm. The co-creator Kevin Weil also left in March to join Planet Labs. This move by the two top engineers is the latest defection to affect Facebook.
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Initially, the company had planned to launch digital currency products in 2020, but this is yet to happen. Since the announcement in 2019 that the company was planning to launch Calibra and its Libra digital currency, so much has changed. For instance, Calibra became Novi, while Libra was renamed, Diem.
Having lost some of their top staff on the digital currency front, the rollout of Facebook’s virtual currency Novi might hit a snag.
So, what are the details of the new move to a16z?
Faizullabhoy and Eddequiouaq will serve as the chief technology officer and chief information security officer, respectively, at a16z Crypto. Having been in operation since 2009, Andreessen Horowitz is a venture capital firm that has been actively investing in crypto and blockchain.
Andreessen made a windfall in April from an early bet on Coinbase before it went public this year. In June, the company also launched a $2.2 billion crypto fund despite the volatility of the cryptocurrency market.
The co-founder, Marc Andreessen, also serves as a Facebook board member. He has built a team of around 50 members, including outside advisors. The company has investments in trading services, digital currencies, and other crypto funds.
While Facebook is struggling to establish its presence in the digital currency space, companies such as Andreessen Horowitz are successfully building a crypto system and poaching some top employees while at it.