Who Is David Marcus: Bitcoin Believer Turned Facebook Libra Co-Creator

David Marcus, the man spearheading Facebook’s blockchain effort, has gotten a tremendous amount of spotlight lately. The rapid emergence of Libra has dominated the coverage of other crypto-related developments, as it became apparent that the social media giant’s inroad into the realm of digital assets will have most serious consequences for both the blockchain sector and the global financial system in general.

While previously the crypto industry has hardly ever had one key spokesperson — which is perhaps a natural and welcome state of affairs for a domain wherein decentralization is the most cherished of values — Libra’s newfound position at the center of global-level regulatory debate about the future shape of finance propels the project’s charismatic head to serve as the envoy for the whole cryptocurrency space.

Like it or not, old-school legislators in the United States and beyond are used to dealing with specific people representing interest groups and industry associations, so Marcus’ two appearances before the U.S. Congress have likely rendered him not just “Mr. Facebook Cryptocurrency,” but simply “Mr. Cryptocurrency” in the eyes of many people in high offices. But how did a Paris-born, Geneva-raised college dropout end up in this capacity of prominence?

From Geneva to Silicon Valley

Born into a Romanian-Iranian family in Paris, the future head of Libra was raised in Switzerland, where he attended the University of Geneva. Like so many of his future tech industry colleagues, he left school long before earning a degree in order to focus on an entrepreneurial career. At aged 23, Marcus founded his first startup — a telecom carrier — which was acquired by a larger integrated communications corporation after four years under his leadership. His first experience with payments came after he established a mobile media monetization company, Echovox, whose feats, among others, included facilitating SMS voting for big-name TV shows.

Zong, a spin-off from Echovox, has successfully establishing a payments network that allowed users to make purchases through mobile carrier billing. Putting up such a service on a large scale took Marcus negotiating with hundreds of mobile operators and thousands of merchants. It was Zong’s success that projected Marcus to the position of PayPal’s vice