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Facebook in Blockchain ‘Acqui-Hire,’ Bitfury Inks Paraguay Mining Deal

Tim Alper
Last updated: | 2 min read

The cryptocurrency market may have got off to a sluggish start to the year, but crypto-keen companies are making major international moves in the cryptocurrency and blockchain scene.

Source: iStock/JaysonPhotography

Social media giant Facebook appears to be ramping up its blockchain efforts, hiring the brainpower behind British blockchain and smart contract startup Chainspace. Per media outlet Cheddar, the move represents an “acqui-hire,” with four out of five of the researchers who created Chainspace’s white paper now joining the Facebook blockchain unit. Although Facebook has denied it has bought Chainspace out, the latter’s website states “we’re excited to announce that the team is moving on to something new.”

Chainspace has explored ways to speed up blockchain-powered transactions, and has also investigated decentralized forms of polling.

Facebook has been already looking to increase it’s blockchain-dedicated team. The company now has eleven job openings for blockchain talent at its California headquarters, or more than twice compared to December.

Facebook has kept its blockchain operations under wraps, after last year launching a dedicated blockchain team, headed by a then-member of the Coinbase board and its former head of messaging products.

Experts have speculated that Facebook may have something major up its sleeve – with some talking of a possible cryptocurrency exchange platform buyout or an initial coin offering. However, the company has remained tight-lipped, repeatedly stating that it has a “new, small team” that “is exploring many different applications,” but adding that it has “nothing further to share.”

Also, as reported, according to industry insiders, Facebook is developing a so-called stablecoin that will allow WhatsApp, a messaging app, users to transfer money on the platform.

Meanwhile, Bitfury – one of the largest crypto-mining companies in the world – has teamed up with a South Korean consortium working on a range of projects in Paraguay. Per an official Bitfury release, the companies “will build a series of transaction processing sites in Paraguay, all using Bitfury’s […] mobile datacenters.”

The consortium, named the Commons Foundation, has high-level backers, including South Korean internet behemoth Naver. The Paraguay project comprises work on what some have labeled the “world’s largest mining farm,” a massive development covering 50,000sqm of land next to the 103 TWh Itaipu Hydroelectric Dam.

Elsewhere, crypto exhcange Kraken has also been doing its M&A work in the British blockchain startup market, snapping up cryptocurrency trading platform and index provider Crypto Facilities for a “nine figure” sum.