Former Meta crypto exec plots course for Bitcoin’s transformation to global payment network

Lightspark CEO David Marcus aims to address the absence of a worldwide internet protocol for global money transfers


Jirattawut Domrong/Shutterstock modified by Blockworks


David Marcus, who previously led Meta’s Novi and Diem ventures, recently appeared on CNBC to talk about Lightspark, his new bitcoin-centric infrastructure venture.

“What we’re trying to do is turn Bitcoin into a real global payment network,” he told CNBC’s Squawk Box on Sept. 11. 

Lightspark publicly debuted in April, backed by the likes of a16z crypto, Paradigm and others, with the goal of building on Bitcoin’s Lightning network. 

During the CNBC interview, Marcus contended that “we’re still in the fax era of global payments.” He highlighted how there is currently no global internet protocol to efficiently transfer money across international borders.

To send money, you often need to request a bank account number, deal with varying formats and face high international wire transfer fees. This cumbersome process involves substantial sums, with trillions of dollars flowing through networks like SWIFT, he said.

Marcus doesn’t expect bitcoin itself to be used as a currency for everyday purchases. Instead, he said using a small part of a bitcoin within the Lightning Network is like sending a specialized data packet on the internet specifically for transferring value between people.

“So, you can exchange at the edges of the network and send dollars to someone who will receive Japanese yen on the other side, or send dollars to someone who will receive euros on the other side,” he said.

“And the actual net settlement layer that is used is Bitcoin, Lightning and it settles in real time, cash final and at a very, very low cost.”

Marcus has earlier stated that the crypto industry has many projects without immediate practical applications. He encouraged developers to evaluate whether their solutions genuinely tackle real-world problems.

In addition to his work at Meta, Marcus founded a mobile payments startup called Zong that was later acquired by PayPal. 

During his time at Facebook, Marcus was instrumental in the creation of Diem (formerly Libra), a project conceived by founder Mark Zuckerberg. 

Diem aimed to democratize finance by enabling global cryptocurrency transactions within Facebook’s apps like Messenger and WhatsApp, convertible to local currencies. But the project drew swift controversy, and following numerous congressional hearings and significant departures of key personnel, Diem ultimately ceased operations.

Don’t miss the next big story – join our free daily newsletter.


Upcoming Events

MON - WED, MARCH 18 - 20, 2024

Digital Asset Summit (DAS) is returning March 2024. What you can expect: And more! Don’t miss out on the opportunity to be in the room when the future of crypto is decided. Join us and help shape the future of our […]

recent research

Research report - cover graphics-2.jpg


Base has doubled-down on its commitment to the Superchain vision, has shown early signs of success with nearly $400M in TVL, and has become home to novel dapps such as which has seen significant traction.


Their current stance is a half-baked attempt that could stifle innovation and burden an emerging industry


Maker’s DeFi-focused “subDAO” passed a proposal activating a lending market for DAI on the Gnosis Chain


Certain creditors could be repaid sooner, with one hedge fund exec telling Blockworks it expects a payout by the end of the year


Busan is South Korea’s second largest city with a population around 3.4 million


Cyprus granted eToro crypto registration, setting the groundwork for the company to operate crypto services post-MiCa rollout



These are the best tools and practices you can leverage to defend against crypto market volatility