Meta, Facebook’s parent company, has made plans to adopt virtual currencies, tokens and lending services while pursuing its financial intentions in its applications, despite the collapse of a cryptocurrency launch project.
The company, led by CEO Mark Zuckerberg, is looking for alternative sources of revenue and new features that can attract and retain users as the popularity of major social media products like Facebook and Instagram diminishes, threatening an ad-based trend. $ 118 billion annual business model (R $ 560 billion).
Facebook’s financial sector, Meta Financial Technologies, is considering creating a virtual currency for metaverse, which employees called “Zuck Bucks,” according to several people familiar with the initiative.
It’s unlikely to be a blockchain-based cryptocurrency, some of those people said. Instead, Meta aims to introduce tokens that would be centrally controlled by the company, similar to those used in gaming applications, such as Roblox, a popular robux currency for children’s games.
According to public notices about the company and the plans, Meta is also considering creating “social tokens” or “reputation tokens” that could be awarded to Facebook groups as a reward for significant contributions, e.g. Another effort is to create “creator coins” that can be linked to specific effects in the Instagram photo sharing app.
Meta has also been looking at more traditional financial services to offer small business loans at attractive interest rates, according to several people familiar with the initiative. Although nothing is immediately anticipated, one person said the company has spoken to potential credit partners.
Most of the efforts are in the early stages of the discussion and can be modified or suspended, although plans to integrate NFTs (non-fungal tokens) into applications are more advanced. Zuckerberg confirmed a previous Financial Times report that Instagram would soon begin supporting NFTs.
According to a shared note last week, Meta plans to launch a pilot to publish and share NFTs on Facebook in mid-May. This will be “followed quickly” by being a member of Facebook groups based on NFT ownership and allowing you to try another NFT.
NFTs may be able to earn money through “fees and / or advertisements” in the future, according to another internal document.
Facebook has no comment.
Meta lost more than $ 220 billion of its market capital in February as users spent more and more time with new rivals, such as the TikTok short video app.
The company recently discovered other sources of money and tried to support e-commerce on the platform by researching cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. Its big tech rivals like Google and Apple have been more cautious about immersing themselves in the nascent space.
But the initiative has been hampered by setbacks and regulatory controls. Earlier this year, a global cryptocurrency project called “diem” was canceled, and its assets were sold to Silvergate Bank in California after US regulators denied the pilot the green light for concerns about monetary stability and competition.
Amid internal frustrations, Meta’s financial division has suffered what a former employee described in the past six months as a “massive exodus” of workers. Its director David Marcus left at the end of last year, along with senior engineers, the compliance team and almost the entire legal team.
What’s left is exploring how digital currencies are created or accepted in his metaverse: a virtual world full of avatars that Zuckerberg hopes will eventually create billions of dollars in the trade in digital goods and services.
The new plans represent something that is far removed from the diem and the dream of creating a cryptocurrency. Officials are now trying to find the least regulated way to offer a digital currency, the two friends said, a blockchain-based digital token seems like a more attractive option.
It would not be the first time that Facebook has introduced such a currency in its ecosystem. In 2009 he launched Facebook Credits, a virtual currency that allows users to make in-app purchases, usually in games like Farmville. It was 16% of revenue when the initial public offering was made in 2012, according to Barclays Bank, but closed in 2013 because it was too expensive to maintain.
In a note at the end of January, Meta’s new chief financial officer, Stephane Kasriel, wrote: “We are making changes to our product strategy and roadmap … building the metaverse and making payments and financial services a priority in this digital world.” . .
Kasriel, who replaced Marcus, said the company would “speed up” investments in WhatsApp and Messenger payments and “help creators make money from their business,” for example, through NFT.
He also stated his intention to merge his Facebook Pay wallet – his current peer-to-peer payment system, which does not use blockchain technology – with Novi, a digital wallet that was originally supposed to contain diem currency.
“The portfolio will provide payments, identity and digital asset management [família de aplicativos e Reality Labs, seu braço de realidade virtual e aumentada] and, over time, to other applications / websites, “he said.
While some of Meta’s efforts are based on digital payment, other initiatives are part of broader plans to use blockchain technology to take more “decentralization” into its platforms as the so-called Web movement in Silicon Valley grows. 3.0.
Proponents of Web 3.0 often use distributed bookkeeping technology to give users greater control and ownership over their data and to divert large amounts of technology groups that make money as part of ad-based business models.
But Meta seems to be taking some Web 3.0 ideals. According to a planning document, it is examining whether data should be stored in a blockchain, how it can give users greater control over their digital identity and whether their identity or accounts can be transferred or used on platforms other than Meta applications.
Meanwhile, plans to reward users with social tokens for trustworthy content could backfire as a central moderator of Meta content and give Facebook communities more self-moderation, according to the document.