The Facebook executive who helmed the social media company’s Novi cryptocurrency project is departing

David Marcus of Facebook speaks on stage during the annual Facebook F8 developers conference in San Jose, California, U.S., April 18, 2017.
David Marcus. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
  • David Marcus, a Facebook executive who helmed the firm’s crypto projects, is departing by the end of the year.
  • Marcus led the creation of Novi, the company’s digital wallet, and co-created Diem, its stalled digital currency. 
  • “My entrepreneurial DNA has been nudging me for too many mornings in a row,” he tweeted.

David Marcus, a Facebook executive who helmed the social media giant’s cryptocurrency efforts, is departing by the end of the year to focus on other projects. 

He led the creation of Novi, the company’s digital wallet, and co-created Diem, its stalled digital currency. Stephane Kasriel, currently the VP of product at Novi, will take over his role.

“After a fulfilling seven years at Meta, I’ve made the difficult decision to step down,” Marcus announced through his Twitter account Tuesday. “While there’s still so much to do right on the heels of launching Novi … my entrepreneurial DNA has been nudging me for too many mornings in a row to continue ignoring it.”

Both Diem and Novi, while ambitious in their core, faced criticism and never saw proper rollouts.

Diem, which was rebranded from Libra, is a blockchain-based payment system that has faced a number of roadblocksRegulatory concerns over Facebook’s data privacy and potential money laundering issues contributed to delays in the program, which is now run by an independent association.

Meanwhile, Novi functions as a standalone app like Instagram and WhatsApp, and is tied to Diem’s blockchain-based payment system. Launched in October, Novi set out to let users transfer money abroad instantly and with no fees. But just a few hours after it was released, Novi received an almost instant pushback from Democratic senators who said Facebook “cannot be trusted to manage a payment system or digital currency.”

Marcus has maintained Novi could play an instrumental role in fixing the global payments system that he said is too slow and costly, among other things, according to an August blog post.

He joined Meta Platforms, Facebook’s parent company, in 2014 from payments giant PayPal. Prior to leading its crypto efforts, the 48-year-old was responsible for the social media firm’s Messenger service until 2018. 

“I’ve learned so much working with you and I’m so grateful for everything you’ve done for this place,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said through a comment on Marcus’ Facebook post. “We wouldn’t have taken such a big swing at Diem without your leadership and I’m grateful you’ve made Meta a place where we make those big bets.”

Marcus is stepping down after other crypto executives departed the company recently. Kevin Weil, a Diem and Novi co-founder, left in March. And Morgan Beller, another Diem co-founder, left in September 2020.