Rumors may spread at the speed of the Internet, but social network giant Facebook is denying reports that its new blockchain task force is partnering with Stellar to launch a cryptocurrency project.
A Facebook spokesperson told financial news outlet Cheddar that the company has not held discussions with developers about forking Stellar in order to create an independent Facebook blockchain and cryptocurrency.
“We are not engaged in any discussions with Stellar, and we are not considering building on their technology,” the spokesperson told the Cheddar.
However, just last week, a Business Insider report cited anonymous sources who claimed that Facebook’s crypto division, led by former Messenger leader David Marcus, was considering the Stellar protocol as a basis for its cloaked-in-mystery blockchain plans. Earlier reports indicated that Facebook might be launching its own cryptocurrency.
Stellar previously helped chat app Kik, fork its blockchain. Kik’s cryptocurrency, Kin, operates on a Stellar fork.
So what is Facebook’s interest in cryptocurrency? In January, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that one of his personal goals is to learn more about cryptocurrency. Shortly afterward, Marcus resigned at Coinbase (citing a conflict of interest) and joined Facebook.
“Because of the new group I’m setting up at Facebook around blockchain, I’ve decided it was appropriate for me to resign from the Coinbase board,” Marcus told Cheddar. “I’ve been thoroughly impressed by the talent and execution the team has demonstrated during my tenure, and I wish the team all the success it deserves going forward.”
The timing of the move led to much speculation that Facebook is preparing to unveil its plans for the task force and possibly a proprietary cryptocurrency. However, nothing much has been made public in the five months following Marcus joining Facebook.
“We are still in the very early stages and we are considering a number of different applications for the blockchain,” a company representative told TechCrunch. “But we don’t have anything else to share at this time.”
Facebook’s statements don’t appear to have had much of an effect on Stellar’s Lumens token. The token is currently up one percent, even as the majority of other cryptocurrencies have posted declines greater than five percent.