Meta may launch tokens and digital currency lending services in apps: report

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Social media giant Facebook’s parent company is reportedly planning to launch a virtual currency named after CEO Mark Zuckerberg, as well as lending services for its own apps, including Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger.

According to a Financial Times report on Wednesday, the shift to tokens and virtual currencies is aimed at exploring alternative revenue streams as interest in Facebook and Instagram dips. Meta’s potential virtual currency, which staffers have reportedly dubbed “Zuck Bucks,” will be targeted for use in the Metaverse.

The report does not claim that Meta is exploring traditional cryptocurrencies tied to a blockchain, but centrally controlled tokens to be used in its apps, similar to in-game currencies. The company is also reportedly considering creating “social tokens” for engagement rewards, as well as “creator coins” for influencers.

“We are making changes to our product strategy and roadmap […] so we can focus on building for the Metaverse and what payments and financial services will look like in this digital world,” said Stephane Kasriel, Meta’s chief financial officer, in January.

Integrating virtual currencies into Meta’s apps could go hand in hand with exploring non-fungible tokens on users’ Facebook and Instagram profiles. According to the report, Meta plans to launch an NFT pilot program as early as May 2022.

Cointelegraph reported in January that Meta is in the early stages of potentially launching an NFT marketplace and is exploring methods for users to mint collectable tokens. David Marcus, the co-creator of the Facebook-backed Diem token, said in August that the company was “definitely looking at opportunities” to get into NFTs.

Related: Vale Diem: How Facebook’s Ambitious Stablecoin Project Came to an End

Facebook rebranded to Meta in October 2021, saying its focus at the time went beyond social media. The change came after the release of thousands of documents implying that the company was not doing what it claimed in terms of removing hate speech and posts inciting violence from its platform. The number of Facebook users fell by around 500,000 in the fourth quarter of 2021, while at least one expert predicted that Instagram’s monthly user growth could slow to 3.1% by 2025 from 16.5% in 2021.