San Francisco: David Marcus, former head of Meta's crypto unit, has launched a Bitcoin payments startup that is backed by venture capitalist firms Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) and Paradigm. Marcus will serve as CEO with several ex-Meta crypto team members, reports TechCrunch. The startup is aiming "to explore, build and extend the capabilities and utility of Bitcoin." Bitcoin's lightning network allows for cheaper and faster transactions than the base level network allows, making it a more ideal platform to leverage for payments and decentralized apps. Marcus, who was also Facebook Messenger head, offered some details on his next company Lightspark that will build Bitcoin's Lightning network. The startup did not disclose the funding amount but said it is led by a16z Crypto and Paradigm, with participation from Thrive Capital, Coatue, Felix Capital, Ribbit Capital, Matrix Partners and Zeev Ventures. As Facebook aims to move towards metaverse, several high-profile executives have quit the company. Meta's cryptocurrency head Marcus announced in December he will be leaving the company. Also ReadParag Agrawal’s wife Vineeta linked with Musk’s Twitter takeover His departure came after the company tried and failed to launch a cryptocurrency that could be used to send money online to anyone in the world via Facebook products; Marcus joined Meta, the company formerly known as Facebook, in August 2014 after a two-year stint as president of PayPal. His initial role at Facebook was as vice president in charge of the company's Messenger service. He left the Messenger division to launch Facebook's financial projects unit in May 2018. That division announced the company's Libra blockchain currency and the Calibra digital wallet in June 2019, saying that the hope was for both projects to go live in 2020. Neither project saw the light of day after Facebook faced a stiff backlash against its cryptocurrency ambitions from lawmakers and regulators worldwide. It finale shelved all crypto plans.