Facebook’s parent company Meta is reportedly drawing up plans to introduce virtual currencies and lending services to its platforms, with some employees already referring to digital tokens as “Zuck Bucks” after the company’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg.
According to FinancialTimesMeta is in the early stages of expanding the range of financial products it offers to users of its apps and services, including Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram.
The company’s financial arm, Meta Financial Technologies, has been exploring digital tokens to use as part of an overall pivot to the metaverse, the FT reported.
Control of a proprietary currency could also provide the company with an additional revenue stream as its core advertising-based social media business appears to be slowing down.
Meta stock fell more than 20% in February after reporting its first-ever quarterly decline in Facebook’s active user count, knocking the company’s valuation nearly $200 billion (€177 billion) down .
Facebook NFT Packages
Sources connected to Meta’s plans told the FT that the company’s end product is unlikely to be a blockchain-based cryptocurrency. Instead, a “reputation token” or “social token” rewards system for positive contributions to Facebook groups, as well as “creative coins” for influencers are under consideration.
A spokesperson for Meta declined to elaborate on the company’s plans, telling Reuters they “did not have any updates to share today”, and adding that the company was focused on building for the metaverse “and that includes what payments and financial services might look like.”
Meta has a painful experience with digital currencies. Libra, Facebook’s attempt to build a crypto stablecoin in 2019, ended in failure after encountering regulatory and business backlash.
The Libra project – renamed “Diem” – was discharged by the company earlier this year.
However, the company is not entirely distancing itself from the blockchain.
CEO Zuckerberg said last month that Instagram would introduce non-fungible tokens (NFTs) in the “short term.” Facebook will also launch a pilot program for posting and sharing NFTs on its platform in May, the FT reported on Wednesday.