Ex-PayPal, Meta exec says it’s time for average Joe crypto

David Marcus noted that while crypto projects tackle complex technical issues, many lack real-world relevance

article-image

Chaikom/Shutterstock, modified by Blockworks

share

Crypto hasn’t integrated into daily consumer practices — not yet, anyway.

David Marcus, CEO of bitcoin tech infrastructure firm Lightspark, believes it’s high time for that to evolve.

In a Spaces chat with a16z executives Sriram Krishnan and Eddy Lazzarin on Tuesday, Marcus stressed the importance of crafting solutions in the crypto industry that resonate with real-world challenges and for developers to genuinely comprehend the entire user journey.

“I feel like in crypto in general, I’ve seen many projects that are basically solving very complex technical challenges and very talented people working on them,” he said, adding that many of these solutions lack immediate relevance in the real world.

“For a normal consumer to actually use the thing, it would take a lot of suspending disbelief,” Marcus said.

For those innovating in the field, he thinks it’s crucial to assess whether their solutions truly address real-world challenges. 

He urged builders in the space to consider two questions — whether the idea can shift consumer habits, or whether it can achieve broad adoption by unlocking opportunities constrained by current systems.

Marcus is a seasoned entrepreneur who founded mobile payments startup Zong, which caught the attention of PayPal and led to its acquisition. His rapid progression within PayPal set the stage for his getting recruited by Facebook, where he helped grow its user base to hundreds of millions. 

Building on this expertise, Marcus played a pivotal role in the inception of Libra (renamed Diem), a brainchild of Mark Zuckerberg. Diem aimed to democratize finance, enabling users on Facebook’s suite of apps, including Messenger and WhatsApp, to transact using crypto globally, which could then be converted to local currencies.

But Diem hit a roadblock when lawmakers questioned Meta’s intentions and the extent of the platform’s influence over global social media.

During the Spaces discussion, Marcus also suggested that he is frustrated that financial technology hasn’t evolved much since the ’60s and ’70s.

While many fintech companies have improved the user interface, they’re still built on outdated systems. 

Instead of just making these old systems look better, Marcus said he’s more interested in the global money system being upgraded to be more open, compatible and cost-effective.

To that end, the Lightspark executive said he’s on a mission.

“I made that decision… that this is a thing I’m going to actually succeed at or die trying,” he said. 

“I’m not going to do anything else for the rest of my life until it’s done.”


Start your day with top crypto insights from David Canellis and Katherine Ross. Subscribe to the Empire 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, 2023

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

Research Report Cover Vertex.jpg

Research

The proliferation of new perp DEXs has led to fragmented liquidity across various DEXs and chains. Vertex, known for its vertically-integrated DEX that includes spot, perpetual, and integrated money markets, is now tackling cross-chain liquidity fragmentation through horizontal integration with the launch of new Edge instances. Vertex's integrated offerings and cross-margined account structure amplify the benefits of new instances: native cross-chain spot trading, optimized cross-chain basis trading, consistent interest rates, reduced bridging friction, and more.

article-image

Partnering with EtherFi and Angle, the fully on-chain perp DEX features bespoke collateral

article-image

Sponsored

Gavin Wood introduced the next evolutionary step for the Polkadot network: the Join-Accumulate Machine, or JAM

article-image

The side events were the places to be at Consensus 2024, according to attendees

article-image

Also, who’s come out swinging in the spot ether ETF fee war — and who could undercut them

article-image

I know it is not in their nature, but US regulators could learn a lot by researching the digital asset frameworks that overseas regulators have already gotten right

article-image

Also, the ETF hype train can count out at least one member