Meta Financial Technologies, the financial arm of Meta (formerly Facebook), is exploring creating a virtual currency for its Metaverse, named after its CEO Mark Zuckerberg, according to several people familiar with the matter, according to the Financial Times. Internally, employees refer to them as “Zuck Bucks.”
This is unlikely to be a blockchain-based cryptocurrency, but an in-app token centrally controlled by the company, similar to in-app tokens such as Robux in popular children’s game Roblox, the people said.
This isn’t the first time Facebook has introduced a similar currency into its ecosystem. It previously launched Facebook Credits in 2009, a virtual currency that enables users to make in-app purchases for games such as FarmVille. According to Barclays, the business accounted for 16% of its revenue at the time of its 2012 IPO, but closed in 2013 due to high maintenance costs.
Meta is also looking into creating “social tokens” or “reputation tokens,” which, for example, could be issued as a reward for contributing to Facebook groups, according to company memos and people familiar with the program. Its social app Instagram produces “creator tokens” associated with content creators.
Meta has also been exploring more traditional financial services, with a focus on helping small business loans at attractive rates, according to several people familiar with the matter. While there are no immediate plans, the company had previously held discussions with potential lending partners, one of the people said.
Most efforts are in the early stages of discussion and subject to change or abandonment, but the plan to integrate NFTs should be a done deal. As previously reported by BitTui, Zuckerberg confirmed in a speech that Instagram will soon start supporting NFTs.
According to a memo shared internally last week, Meta plans to launch a pilot in mid-May to post and share NFTs on Facebook. A feature that will enable Facebook group membership and NFT minting based on NFT ownership will then be “quickly” tested.
Another internal document shows that future NFTs may be monetized through “fees and/or advertising.”
With the rise of new competitors such as short video application TikTok, Meta’s fourth-quarter financial report fell short of expectations, and its market value shrank by more than $220 billion in February. Discussions are growing, and Meta is also trying to find other sources of revenue besides advertising, including cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.
According to a planning document, Meta is exploring whether to store data on a blockchain, how to give users more control over their digital identities, and whether their identities or accounts can be transferred outside of the Meta app, the Financial Times said. Other platforms or use on other platforms.
At the same time, the document says it plans to reward users for trusted content with “social tokens,” which could free Meta from being a centralized moderator and give the Facebook community more power to self-censor.
While the Metaverse is currently only a conceptual form of immersive internet, Meta is investing heavily in VR and AR technology, which CEO Mark Zuckerberg has seen as the future of the company.
Meta previously announced that its AR and VR division, Reality Labs, reported a loss of $14 billion in 2021. Tom Johnson, chief digital officer of media agency Mindshare Worldwide, commented publicly: “Investors will pay close attention to these financial data as a measure of its Metaverse vision to achieve profitability. How far is the first indicator.” Market data shows that year-to-date, Meta’s stock price has plummeted 34%, with a current market value of about $607.8 billion.
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