The owner of Facebook targets the virtual currency market with the meta ‘juke box’

Meta plans to launch virtual coin, token and credit services in its apps, as Facebook’s parent company pursues its financial ambitions despite the collapse of a project to launch a cryptocurrency.

Led by CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the company is looking for alternative revenue streams and new features that could attract and retain users, as popularity falls for its major social networking products such as Facebook and Instagram – a trend that threatens its $ 118 billion. Advertising-based business model of the year.

Facebook’s financial arm, Meta Financial Technologies, is exploring the creation of a virtual currency for Metavers, which employees have internally called a “jukebox,” according to several familiar with the effort.

It is unlikely to be a cryptocurrency based on blockchain, some say. Instead, the meta-in-app is leaning towards the introduction of tokens that will be centralized by the company, as in popular children’s games such as the Robox currency used in gaming apps. Robolax.

According to people close to the company’s memo and plan, Meta is also looking at creating so-called “social tokens” or “reputation tokens” that could be issued as rewards for meaningful contributions to Facebook groups, for example. Another effort is to create a “creator coin” that can be linked to special influencers on its photo-sharing app Instagram.

According to several people familiar with the initiative, Meta is exploring more traditional financial services, focusing on helping small businesses lend at attractive rates. Although nothing is planned immediately, the company has previously discussed with potential lending partners, one said.

Most efforts are in the early stages of being discussed and may be changed or omitted, although plans to integrate non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, into its apps are more advanced. Zuckerberg confirmed in an earlier report in the Financial Times that Instagram would soon begin supporting the NFT.

According to a memo shared internally last week, Meta plans to launch a pilot to post and share NFTs on Facebook in the middle of Meta. It will test a feature “Quick Follow” which will allow for NFT ownership based on NFT ownership and another word for creating minting – NFTs.

According to another internal document, NFTs may be monetized in the future through “fees and / or advertising”. Facebook declined to comment.

Meta lost more than $ 220 billion from its market valuation in February, the day it revealed that users were spending increasing time on new competitors such as the short-form video app TickTock.

The company recently sought to support other sources of revenue and ecommerce on the platform, exploring cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. Its big tech rivals, such as Google and Apple, have become more cautious about diving into new space.

But the push has been plagued by hazards and regulatory verification. Earlier this year, Dime, the global cryptocurrency project that led it, went bankrupt and sold its assets to Silvergate, a California bank, when U.S. regulators refused to give the pilot the green light for financial stability and competition concerns.

In the midst of internal frustration, Meta’s financial department has suffered a loss that has described a former employee as a “massive emigration” of workers over the past six months. Its chief, David Marcus, left late last year, along with the chief engineer, compliance staff and almost the entire legal team.

Survivors are looking at how to create or support digital currency in its metavers – an incarnation-filled virtual world that Zuckerberg hopes will eventually create billions of dollars in trade for digital products and services.

Staffers are now trying to find the least controlled way to offer digital currency, two people say, a digital token that is not based on blockchain which is emerging as the most attractive option.

This is not the first time that Facebook has introduced such a currency into its ecosystem. It launched Facebook Credit in 2009, a virtual currency that enables users to make in-app purchases, typically in games such as Form Will. It represented 16 percent of revenue at the time of its initial public offering in 2012, according to Barclays, but it closed in 2013 because it was too expensive to maintain.

In a memo in late January, Stephen Casriel, the new head of Meter’s finance department, wrote: “We are changing our product strategy and roadmap. . . So we can prioritize building metavers and what payments and financial services will look like in this digital world. ”

Casriel, who replaced Marcus in late 2021 when he left the company, said the company would “accelerate” investments to facilitate payments between WhatsApp and Messenger and “help creators monetize their activities”, for example through NFT.

He also hinted at plans to integrate its wallet for Facebook Pay – its existing peer-to-peer payment system that does not use blockchain technology – with Novi, the digital currency wallet originally intended to hold Diem coins.

“The wallet will offer payments, identity and digital asset management [family of apps and Reality Labs, its virtual and augmented reality arm,] And over time, other apps / sites, “he said.

While some of Meter’s efforts are focused on digital payments, others are part of a broader plan to use blockchain technology to introduce further “decentralization” across its platform, amid growing buzz around Silicon Valley around the so-called Web3 movement.

Web3 advocates typically seek to use distributed laser technology to give users greater control and ownership over their data, and isolated Big Tech groups typically monetize that data as part of their ad-based business model.

But Meta seems to be adopting some Web3 norms. It is investigating whether it will store data in a blockchain, how it can give users more control over their digital identity, and whether their identities or accounts can be transferred or used on platforms other than the Meta app, according to a planning document.

Meanwhile, plans to reward users for trusted content, including “social tokens,” may give Meta more power to remove itself as a central content moderator and moderate Facebook communities themselves, according to the document.

Additional report by Christina Creedell in London

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