Social media giant Facebook’s parent company, Meta, is reportedly planning to introduce virtual currency as well as lending services to apps it owns, with Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, and Messenger potentially being among those impacted.
According to a Financial Times report on Wednesday, this move toward tokens and digital currency is aimed at exploring alternative sources of revenue as interest in Facebook and Instagram drops. Meta’s potential digital currency, which employees have reportedly internally dubbed "Zuck Bucks” after CEO Mark Zuckerberg, will be aimed at use in the metaverse.
Facebook owner Meta targets finance with ‘Zuck Bucks’ and creator coins https://t.co/IcK6oAM0J7— Financial Times (@FT) April 6, 2022
The report does not claim that Meta is exploring traditional cryptocurrencies tied to a blockchain, but rather centrally controlled tokens to be used within its apps, similar to an in-game currency. The company is also reportedly considering creating “social tokens” for engagement rewards, as well as “creator coins" for influencers.
“We’re making changes to our product strategy and road map [...] so we can prioritize on building for the metaverse and on what payments and financial services will look like in this digital world,” wrote the head of Meta's finance division, Stephane Kasriel, in a January memo.
The introduction of virtual currencies into Meta’s apps may be coming alongside the company exploring nonfungible token integration for Facebook and Instagram. The report suggested Meta was planning to launch an NFT pilot program as early as May 2022.
Cointelegraph reported in January that Meta was in the early stages of potentially launching an NFT marketplace, as well as exploring methods of allowing users to mint collectible tokens. David Marcus, the co-creator of the Facebook-backed Diem token, said in August that the company was “definitely looking” at ways to get into NFTs.
Facebook rebranded to Meta in October 2021, saying at the time that its focus was expanding beyond social media. The change came following the release of thousands of documents that implied the company was not doing what it claimed with regard to removing hate speech and posts encouraging violence from its platform. The number of Facebook users dropped by roughly 500,000 in the fourth quarter of 2021, while at least one expert predicted Instagram’s growth in monthly users could drop from 16.5% in 2021 to 3.1% by 2025.