Mark Zuckerberg believes that the technology powering bitcoin could one day be used to improve Facebook Inc.
In his 2018 mission statement, published on Thursday, the social network’s CEO said his main goal for the year ahead is to “fix” Facebook and focus on making the world a less anxious and divided place. Zuckerberg suggested that cryptocurrency may provide a potential remedy to the issues that have dogged Facebook over the past year, including the proliferation of hate speech and spread of fake news.
Zuckerberg’s interest in cryptocurrency technology stems from its ability to decentralize power. In the blog post, Facebook’s CEO acknowledged that public opinion has turned on today’s tech giants and the widespread influence they have. “With the rise of a small number of big tech companies — and governments using technology to watch their citizens — many people now believe technology only centralizes power rather than decentralizes it,” he wrote.
Zuckerberg believes that bitcoin and other technology could be used to reverse this theme, adding that a lot of people initially backed the internet and social media because it promised to put “more power in people’s hand.”
“There are important counter-trends to this – like encryption and cryptocurrency – that take power from centralized systems and put it back into people’s hands,” he wrote. “But they come with the risk of being harder to control. I’m interested to go deeper and study the positive and negative aspects of these technologies, and how best to use them in our services.”
Zuckerberg’s interest in cryptocurrency appears to be shared by one of his colleagues. Facebook’s vice president of messaging products, David Marcus, joined the board of Coinbase Inc., one of the largest crypto exchanges, late last year, according to Bloomberg. “I’ve been involved with, and fascinated by cryptocurrencies since 2012, and I’ve witnessed how Coinbase has started democratizing access to this new asset class,” Marcus said on Coinbase’s blog Dec. 12. Early Facebook investor Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund has reportedly invested millions in bitcoin.
In his 2017 mission statement, Zuckerberg pledged to visit all the states he’d never been to and meet people there. He first started taking on new annual challenges in 2009.