Four Ex-Facebook Developers Join Forces to Build Future of Web3

“Some of our dreams couldn’t be realized at Facebook due to regulatory pressure or the company being unable to adopt cutting edge technology aggressively,” said Evan Cheng, co-founder and CEO of Mysten Labs

article-image

From left: Sam Blackshear, Evan Cheng, Adeniyi Abiodun, Mysten Labs. Source: Mysten Labs

share

key takeaways

  • “We have high conviction that we made the right move,” Cheng said
  • Since leaving, the co-founders had “technical breakthroughs” that Cheng says they wouldn’t have had if they stayed at Meta

Fed up by the red tape of Big Tech, four former Facebook employees banded together and created a startup focused on Web3 and blockchain infrastructure. Now, they’re planning to launch a blockchain in the near future. 

The co-founder and CEO of Mysten Labs, Even Cheng, spent the last 16 years at tech companies, namely Apple and Facebook, now known as Meta. 

He and three other ex-Facebook employees — Sam Blackshear, Adeniyi Abiodun and George Danezis — worked together on Meta’s Novi Financial team to help develop the Diem blockchain and Move programming language, a cross-platform smart contract language that helps developers secure against exploits.  

But they felt there were too many restrictions at their previous employer, so they turned to their own devices.

“Some of our dreams couldn’t be realized at Facebook due to regulatory pressure and the company being unable to adopt cutting edge technology aggressively,” Cheng said. “So, we thought about doing a startup because we’ve done work in the space and want to share it.” 

Mysten Labs partnered with 0L Network on Tuesday, an open, permissionless version of Diem’s blockchain, to expand the Move smart contract programming language. 

“We have high conviction that we made the right move,” Cheng said. “We are able to accelerate our development pace by an order of magnitude and make decisions faster as we’re free of the handcuffs that slowed us down.”

The startup was founded in November 2021, and a few months later Diem was sold for $200 million to Silvergate Capital Corp in late January. The firm focuses on building new blockchain infrastructure to scale the Web3 space. 

“We are building our own blockchain that will be comparable to Ethereum, Solana and so on, but we want the capability to go beyond that,” Cheng said. 

The blockchain will be launched in late March and will have a test net, beta net then go to mainnet later this year, he added. The company anticipates developer activity on-chain and building by April or May. 

Since leaving, the co-founders have had “technical breakthroughs” that Cheng says wouldn’t have happened at Meta. “We’re driving toward something concrete and able to come across fundamental solutions, even in a short amount of time,” he said.

Meta was not available for comment Tuesday. 

“A lot of it is continuing the research we started [at Meta] and bringing it to the marketplace,” Cheng said. “We need to overhaul the infrastructure because there’s interesting projects out there that aren’t having their needs met by current blockchain technology.”

Going forward, the company’s focus is on continuing to create solutions for “pain points” in blockchain technology through smart contract developments, utility-focused infrastructure for crypto assets and practical self custody, Cheng said.

“Changes by Web3 will happen sooner than people expect,” Cheng said. “Developers’ eyes light up as they discuss the possibilities with us and that’s tremendous.” 


Start your day with top crypto insights from David Canellis and Katherine Ross. Subscribe to the Empire newsletter.

Explore the growing intersection between crypto, macroeconomics, policy and finance with Ben Strack, Casey Wagner and Felix Jauvin. Subscribe to the On the Margin newsletter.

The Lightspeed newsletter is all things Solana, in your inbox, every day. Subscribe to daily Solana news from Jack Kubinec and Jeff Albus.

Tags

Upcoming Events

Salt Lake City, UT

MON - TUES, OCT. 7 - 8, 2024

Blockworks and Bankless in collaboration with buidlbox are excited to announce the second installment of the Permissionless Hackathon – taking place October 7-8 in Salt Lake City, Utah. We’ve partnered with buidlbox to bring together the brightest minds in crypto for […]

Salt Lake City, UT

WED - FRI, OCTOBER 9 - 11, 2024

Pack your bags, anon — we’re heading west! Join us in the beautiful Salt Lake City for the third installment of Permissionless. Come for the alpha, stay for the fresh air. Permissionless III promises unforgettable panels, killer networking opportunities, and mountains […]

recent research

AERODROME TEMPLATE.png

Research

Aerodrome is a "MetaDEX" that combines elements of various DEX primitives such as Uniswap V2 and V3, Curve, Convex, and Votium. Since its launch on Base, it has become the largest protocol by TVL with more than $495B in value locked, doubling Uniswap's Base deployment.

article-image

The former Valkyrie CEO chats with Blockworks about what she has her eye on as Cypherpunk Holdings’ new leader

article-image

Thursday’s CPI report shows prices are coming down more quickly than analysts had anticipated, renewing hope that central bankers will cut rates in the fall

article-image

If we tokenize all assets in a speculative rush, the risk of creating illiquid markets and trapped value will manifest on a large scale

article-image

Plus, Trump is headed to the heart of Bitcoinlandia with a speaking appearance at the Bitcoin 2024 conference

article-image

Meanwhile, stocks rally after Jerome Powell finishes his Capitol Hill tour

article-image

Plus, Blinks have reshaped many people’s understanding of what blockchains are capable of