Meta’s crypto chief is leaving the company

David Marcus is leaving as Facebook's crypto plans face an uncertain future.

Erin Scott / reuters

David Marcus, the longtime Facebook executive who has overseen the company’s embattled cryptocurrency plans, is leaving the company. Marcus will step down from the company at the end of 2021, he wrote in a Facebook post.

The former PayPal executive first joined Facebook in 2014; he ran Messenger for four years before leaving the post to kickstart Facebook’s blockchain division. Since then, he’s overseen Meta’s long-troubled cryptocurrency plans, as well as other payments products like Facebook Pay.

“While there’s still so much to do right on the heels of hitting an important milestone with Novi launching — and I remain as passionate as ever about the need for change in our payments and financial systems — my entrepreneurial DNA has been nudging me for too many mornings in a row to continue ignoring it,” Marcus said.

Marcus spent the last two years trying to get Novi, the company’s cryptocurrency wallet off the ground. He announced a “small pilot” of the wallet in the United States and Guatemala earlier this year. But the wallet launched without support for Diem, the cryptocurrency previously known as Libra, that Marcus co-founded. That project, which is now independent from Meta, has been repeatedly delayed amid pushback from regulators and officials around the world. And even news of the test of Novi prompted immediate pushback from lawmakers who urged the company to halt the test, citing disclosures from a whistleblower.

In his Facebook post, Marcus said “the Novi years were the most mission-driven and intellectually stimulating ones,” during his time at the company. He said he plans to take some time off before he begins “building something new and exciting again.”