It was an attention-grabbing decision when Facebook hired PayPal’s president, David Marcus, in 2014. At the time, Facebook didn’t have much of a dedicated payments business to speak of; when people thought of spending money on Facebook, they typically thought of in-app purchases in Farmville.
What was more confusing was that Marcus wasn’t helming a new payments unit but instead Messenger, a chat app with no built-in payments capability. The obvious path would be to shoehorn a P2P payments functionality, making Messenger operate more like Venmo. But that wasn’t meant to be the endgame.
“We have a lot of work to do and we could take the cheap and easy approach and just try to put ads in or do payments and make some money in the short term, but we’re not going to do that,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told analysts in 2014.
This story was compiled from reporting by PaymentsSource writers including John Adams, Kate Fitzgerald, David Heun, Michael Moeser and Daniel Wolfe.