Marcus began by describing his current company, Lightspark, which is building payment solutions for Bitcoin’s Lightning Network. He said:
“What we’re trying to do is turn Bitcoin into a real global payment network … we’re still in the fax era of global payments and that’s what we’re attempting to solve.”
Marcus emphasized throughout the interview that most popular payment services do not fully support international transactions or cross-application transactions. By contrast, he suggested that many other online services, such as texting, emailing, and video conferencing, can be accessed by their users almost universally.
He also called international transactions an enormous business opportunity, with “trillions of dollars of transactions” taking place on existing networks.
When asked whether Bitcoin’s adoption as a real-world currency could result in a higher market value for the asset, Marcus said:
“Our view is actually that Bitcoin is not the currency that people will use to buy things … the actual net settlement layer that is used is basically Bitcoin Lightning and it settles in real time, cash final, and at a very, very low cost.”
Marcus added that this approach allows for currency exchange — including dollars, Japanese yen, and euros — “at the edges of the network.” He did not clarify whether this is a basic feature of Lightning or a planned feature of his own Lightspark project.
Marcus has a long crypto and payments history
Before creating Lighstpark, Marcus served as Vice President of Messaging Products at Facebook, now known as Meta. After taking on that role in 2014, Marcus moved to a blockchain group within Facebook in 2018 in order to lead development on the company’s now-defunct Diem stablecoin and Novi wallet. He left the company in 2021.
He also served as Vice President and President at PayPal between 2011 and 2014. Incidentally, Marcus commented on PayPal’s current stablecoin goals in a conversation with Axios on Sept. 8. There, he suggested that PayPal is likely in a better position to launch a stablecoin than Meta in part due to PayPal’s existing payment services.
Marcus briefly served on Coinbase’s Board of Directors from 2017 to 2018 but left that position in order to work on blockchain products at Facebook.