As bitcoin skyrockets, a top Facebook exec is joining the board of Coinbase, the cryptocurrency exchange

Brian Ach/Getty Images for WiredDavid Marcus is joining the board of Coinbase.
  • Facebook Messenger boss David Marcus is joining the board of bitcoin startup Coinbase.
  • The move is a big win for Coinbase, which has the most popular app in the Apple’s US App Store, thanks to the bitcoin craze.
  • Marcus previously served as PayPal’s president.

As interest in bitcoin soars, a senior Facebook executive is joining the board of Coinbase, a startup that helps consumers trade and store the cryptocurrency.

David Marcus, who heads up Facebook Messenger, is joining the digital currency exchange’s board of directors, Coinbase announced Tuesday. Marcus has some experience in the digital payments space; before joining Facebook, he was the president of PayPal.

In a blog post, Brian Armstrong, Coinbase’s CEO, said he was “pleased” to have Marcus join the company.

His “experience will add breadth and depth to the Coinbase board and will help the leadership team as the company focuses on becoming the most popular and safest place to buy and sell digital currencies,” Armstrong said.

In the same blog post, Marcus said he’d been keeping a close eye on cryptocurrencies since 2012 and was excited about how Coinbase was popularising their use.

“I’m convinced that what the company is working on has the potential to materially change the lives of people around the world, and I’m looking forward to working with Coinbase and its leadership team to help make this vision a reality,” he said.

Marcus’ appointment comes as bitcoin is exploding in value,hitting all-time highs in recent days of more than $US17,000. Coinbase is currently the most popular iPhone app in the United States. But it has struggled to keep up with usage, recently experiencing technical issues and downtime.

Bitcoin price dec 12 markets insider 3 monthsMarkets InsiderThe price of bitcoin over the last three months, as of December 12, 2017.

Luring Marcus to its board is a big win for Coinbase. Arguably, he will be the company’s highest-profile director, sitting alongside Andreessen Horowitz’s Chris Dixon and Fred Wilson from Union Square Ventures.

Bitcoin’s skyrocketing price may be good business for Coinbase, but it has some observers worrying about the effects of a potential crash, amid reports that some people are taking out mortgages to buy into the digital currency.

Earlier this week, Armstrong asked customers in a blog post to “invest responsibly,” warning them of the risks of “extreme volatility” and the potential for further technical issues.

Read more about the blockchain technology that powers bitcoin, here.

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