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The company is looking to build infrastructure for enterprises, developers and merchants to transact on the Lightning network.
The former head of the crypto and digital finance operations at Meta, David Marcus, has unveiled a new crypto startup. Tagged Lightspark, the company aims to expand the utility of the Bitcoin network. Asides from Marcus, other members of the team include James Everingham, Christian Catalini, and Christina Smedley.
Marcus offered scant details about the new firm and its current valuation. However, he revealed that a16z led the first round of funding. Other investors include Paradigm, Felix Capital, Ribbit Capital, Coatue, and Matrix Partners.
Regarding the deal, a16z‘s Sriram Krishnan had this to say:
“We’ve been looking to back a team to build on top of Bitcoin and believe David Marcus and the Lightspark team that he’s assembled can bring exciting new technological innovation to Bitcoin and the Lightning Network.”
Until his resignation in November, Marcus led the crypto and financial services operations team at Meta. While there, he’s touted for cocreating the stablecoin Diem and the wallet Nivo.
However, the projects ultimately ended and were sold to Silvergate after regulatory backlash. Before his time at Meta, Marcus was also president of PayPal.
Since his departure, crypto stalwarts have speculated what his new venture will be.
General Partner at Matrix Partners, Dana Stalder, noted that Marcus was just returning to his roots. In a statement, he said, ” He’s always been a founder. It is who he is — a startup founder through and through.”
Lightspark and the Bitcoin Network
The Bitcoin network has two implicit challenges, speed and cost of transactions. Using the Lightning Network, a protocol on the Bitcoin network, one can perform smaller and less expensive transactions.
It is on this Lightning network that Lightspark will be now built. The company is looking to build infrastructure for enterprises, developers and merchants to transact on the Lightning network. Beyond this, there are no indications the company will also build a stablecoin or cryptocurrency.
Interestingly, the reveal has come at a time when the crypto market is fully on a bearish run. Expectations are that investor interest and the available hiring pool will be limited.
However, released press documents assert that low moments are the best time “to focus on the work and create value with mission-aligned people.”