Social media giant, Facebook might have made its first acquisition several months after it indicated interest in exploring the technology. Financial news site Cheddar reported Monday that Facebook bought the team behind Chainspace, a blockchain startup focused on research into scalability technologies like sharding.
At the time of writing, neither Facebook nor Chainspace has released a formal statement about any deal, the Chainspace website indicates that “the team is moving on to something new.” A quick look at the LinkedIn profiles of 4 out of the 5 major team members including cofounders George Danezis, Shehar Bano and Alberto Sonnino show they now work for Facebook.
According to Cheddar’s sources, the development is not an acquisition in the true sense of the word; Facebook, it seems primarily bought the expertise of its staff, rather than the company’s products or service offerings. An unnamed Facebook spokesperson who spoke to Cheddar said the company had hired the new researchers, but it had not acquired any of Chainspace’s technology.
Following this acquihire, the Chainspace team noted that the Chainspace code and documentation will remain open source and its published research work remains available to the public.
The Chainspace team were still writing a comprehensive whitepaper, the projects is basically building a decentralized infrastructure (known as a distributed ledger), that supports user-defined smart contracts and executes user-supplied transactions on their objects. Its works centered on making the system secure and scalable through sharding and a distributed commit protocol S-BAC, to guarantee consistency.
It’s no surprise that Facebook was drawn to this scalability-focused team, as scaling is the next frontier in blockchain innovation. As Smartereum reported, Dan Morehead, the CEO of blockchain investment fund Pantera Capital predicted that crypto investment from ICOs to projects working on blockchain scalability. According to him, the work of these projects will see blockchain scale to at least 100x in the next couple of years.
Facebook, for its part, is exploring blockchain albeit discretely. As Smartereum reported, the company created a Blockchain division last May headed by David Marcus former head of Facebook Messenger former board member of US crypto exchange Coinbase.