Facebook’s WhatsApp Seeks Policy Expert to Champion Blockchain in Africa

Facebook’s WhatsApp is looking to hire a blockchain regulation expert in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The messaging app provider recently posted a job opening for a public policy manager who would “work closely with Facebook’s Africa Public Policy team to ensure blockchain technologies and digital payments can play their part in improving Africa’s socio-economic development.”

The job listing does not mention Libra, Facebook’s controversial cryptocurrency project, and it is not clear how involved the hire would be in that initiative. Nor does it mention Calibra, the Facebook subsidiary developing a wallet for the currency.

However, Libra’s stated goals include bringing financial services to underserved people in the developing world, and more specifically, enabling money transfers over WhatsApp.

WhatsApp declined to comment.

The position would be in London or Johannesburg with significant travel time and calls for someone with expertise in blockchain, digital identity and cryptocurrency.

Fertile ground

Acquired by Facebook in 2014, WhatsApp is the most popular messaging app in Africa. Mobile money accounts now surpass bank accounts in the Sub-Saharan region, and it’s the only region in the world where nearly 10 percent of GDP in transactions occurs through mobile money, according to the International Monetary Fund.

Facebook has said it aims to launch Libra in the first half of 2020 but vowed not to until it satisfies concerns expressed by regulators worldwide over the cryptocurrency’s potential impact on everything from privacy to financial stability.

Calibra is also building out a compliance team including a sanctions lead, head of compliance and head of fraud.

All told, Facebook is looking to fill 50 blockchain-related positions, including a public policy manager for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, according to its careers page.

WhatsApp image via Shutterstock

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