Facebook has made its first acquisition in the blockchain space.

The social network has quietly hired the team behind Chainspace, a small blockchain startup founded by researchers from University College London, Cheddar has learned. Chainspace was building a decentralized “smart contracts” system that could facilitate payments and other services through blockchain technology.

The acquisition of Chainspace’s team, a move known in Silicon Valley as an acqui-hire, is the clearest sign yet of Facebook’s ambition to be a big player in the nascent blockchain industry. Veteran Facebook executive and former PayPal ($PYPL) President David Marcus was tapped to lead Facebook’s blockchain group earlier last year.

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