Meta to Introduce Virtual Tokens that Are Not Cryptocurrency - Report
Meta, the parent organization of social media platforms Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, is reportedly drafting plans to introduce virtual coins that are not based on a blockchain.
The report noted that this coin would not be a cryptocurrency based on the blockchain, adding:
"Instead, Meta is leaning towards introducing in-app tokens that would be centrally controlled by the company, similar to those used in gaming apps such as the Robux currency in popular children’s game Roblox."
Robux, the in-game currency of Roblox, can be purchased through the game's apps and can then be used to pay for upgrades or avatar accessories. Roblox has built a huge business around Robux, and Meta could be seeking to emulate some of that success.
The report added that Meta has also drawn up plans to create so-called “social tokens” or “reputation tokens,” which will be rewarded to users for their contributions on the company's social platforms, mainly Facebook.
"Another effort is to make “creator coins” that might be associated with particular influencers on its photo-sharing app Instagram," the report said.
Meta's distance from blockchain-based tokens/cryptoassets comes after the company's project to launch a US-backed stablecoin faced enormous regulatory backlash and eventually failed. Then, as reported, American chartered bank Silvergate confirmed plans to purchase Diem's intellectual property.
Led by chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, Meta has been exploring alternative revenue streams as the popularity of its main social networking products such as Facebook and Instagram continues to drop.
According to Meta's Q4 2021 and full-year performance results, Facebook lost 1m daily active users in the last quarter of 2021. And in February, Meta lost over USD 220bn from its market valuation after Zuckerberg said that customers are spending more time on rivals like TikTok.
To compensate for these losses, Meta has been trying to offer more traditional financial services like providing small business loans at attractive rates, the report said.
"While nothing is immediately planned, the company has previously held discussions with potential lending partners," the FT said, adding that "most of the efforts are in the early stages of being discussed and could change or be dropped."
However, the company has reportedly finalized plans to add support for non-fungible tokens (NFTs) across its social platforms, and that includes Facebook too.
Zuckerberg revealed in mid-March that Instagram will start supporting NFTs “over the next several months.” However, the FT claimed that Meta also aims to bring NFTs on Facebook.
"Meta plans to launch a pilot for posting and sharing NFTs on Facebook in mid-May," the report said.
It added that the social platform will next start testing a feature that could make NFT ownership a prerequisite for membership in Facebook groups.
Meta's increasing interest in the virtual world and blockchain-based innovations come as the company's top executives view the metaverse as the "next chapter of the internet."
"We’re making changes to our product strategy and road map . . . so we can prioritise on building for the metaverse and on what payments and financial services will look like in this digital world," Stephane Kasriel, the new head of Meta’s finance division, reportedly said earlier this year.
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