David Marcus, the man behind Meta's dormant Novi and Diem initiatives, has resurfaced with a Bitcoin firm centered on the Lighting Network.
Marcus claims Lightspark will "research, grow, and enhance the possibilities and usefulness of Bitcoin" in a LinkedIn post.
The company is assembling a team to "dig further" into the Lightning Network, a "layer 2" payment mechanism built on top of Bitcoin that allows for cheaper and quicker transactions.
"Recessions are wonderful periods to focus on building and producing value with mission-aligned individuals," Marcus says as crypto prices plummet.
Programmers and traders interested in transacting on the Lightning network will be able to use Lightspark's backend infrastructure.
Lightning is a technology developed on top of Bitcoin that aims to facilitate smaller and more economical transactions. It has no plans to create its own virtual currency or coinage.
Coatue, 16z crypto, Thrive Capital, Paradigm, Ribbit Capital, Felix Capital, Matrix Partners, Zeev Ventures, and others have already invested in Lightspark for an unspecified sum.
Other members of the group include James Everingham, who formerly worked at Novi as a vice president of engineering, and Christian Catalini, who co-founded Diem with Marcus, who will be in control of the company's financial and strategic initiatives. Christina Smedley, the previous chief marketing and communications officer of Robinhood, will be in charge of Lightspark's communications.
Marcus entered Facebook in 2014 after a three-year career as CEO of the Novi digital wallet, which was meant to be tied to the virtual currency Diem.
Since it was first revealed over two years ago under the Libra name, the Meta-led Diem project has faced a series of failures and severe pushback from regulatory agencies.
Marcus left Meta in November after making no secret of his unhappiness with the challenge of keeping Novi and Diem up and running.
The timing of the announcement could have been better, given the recent big losses in Bitcoin and the larger crypto sector.
As the fall of TerraUSD, a so-called stablecoin, resonated across markets, cryptocurrencies suffered significant losses on Friday, with bitcoin trapped below $30,000 and on track for a record losing streak.
Concerns about high inflation and increasing interest rates have prompted the widespread dumping of risky investments, including crypto assets. However, sentiment is particularly delicate, as putative dollar-pegged tokens have failed.
A lengthy market crash in crypto could result in lower investor interest and a smaller pool of potential hires.