Ever since Facebook’s partial reversal of its ban on cryptocurrency-related advertising earlier in the week, crypto social media circles seem to have been focused on one very specific subject – namely, that Facebook is buying Coinbase, the US’ leading cryptocurrency exchange.
The problem with this rumour, however, is that it seems to be precisely that – it is proving deceptively difficult to track down any kind of source that lends even a slither of credibility to the claim.
Another Case of Crypto Chinese Whispers
It is unclear when or how the rumour first emerged, but it is surprisingly easy to identify a rumour mill that forms an almost near-perfect circle between cryptocurrency blogs happy to push their own clickbait agenda and established news platforms that have been scouring some of these blogs in search of material for their own publications.
The first problem here is that the Economist ran no such story at all. The Economist’s article is focused on an entirely different subject altogether – how American tech giants are identifying promising young start-ups and buying them out in a bid to undercut future competition, and in which the writer briefly segues over the course of one simple sentence onto “rumours that Facebook wants to buy Coinbase, a cryptocurrency firm.”
With the Economist article having now made simple reference to the rumour, it now finds itself being promoted to something different altogether with some bloggers now digging up all sorts of little nuggets that might support the theory.
“Facebook has an exploratory blockchain group,” states one contributor on Steemit, pointing out that the outfit is also headed up by a certain David Marcus who, as it happens, is VP of Messenging Products at Facebook and who also sits on the board of … Coinbase.
The insinuation was enough to make the article one of the most successfully circulated articles of the week on the Steemit platform – where, incidentally, people are rewarded for writing stories that attract attention.
“Coinbase has already stated that they want to reach billion people [sic] who will use cryptocurrency and there is no better option to have partnership with facebook over it to reach billion people,” the Steemit piece stated further. We hope you took note there – no better option!
There is probably a strong case for arguing that Facebook is closely studying the possibility (not least because Mark Zuckerberg himself has said something to that effect) of incorporating a crypto-based token onto its platform. This, however, is not the same thing as saying that Facebook will be incorporating a crypto-based token onto its platform.
There appears, then, to be nothing out there to support the Coinbase story except clickbait publications that are happy to push the David Marcus / Coinbase connection. That, of course, doesn’t mean the rumours are not true. It does mean, on the other hand, that they are highly unlikely to be so based on the current evidence.