Facebook owner Meta has renewed its crypto ambitions with plans to roll out virtual coins and lending services to app users.
Meta Financial Technologies, Facebook’s finance arm, has been developing a digital currency to be used in the metaverse which is dubbed “Zuck Bucks” by company employees, the FT first reported.
The turn to virtual reality and digital currency comes as the social media giant battles declining usage of Facebook and Instagram, amid competition from rivals such as TikTok.
Meta is considering the introduction of in-app tokens which would reward users with “social tokens” or “reputation tokens” for active participation online. Another avenue being explored is the creation of “creator coins” which might be awarded to influencers for posting popular content.
The platform is also exploring branching into traditional financial services with plans to provide small business loans at attractive rates, sources told the FT. It is understood Meta has held initial discussions with lending partners.
While plans to introduce tokens and lending services are in their initial stages, Meta could soon be launching NFT features on Facebook a company insider said. A pilot scheme could be rolled out as early as mid-May which would be “quickly followed” by testing of a feature to allow membership of Facebook groups for NFT owners and minting.
Meta wiped 26 per cent from its share price in February 2022 when it revealed that Facebook usage had declined over the previous quarter, threatening the company’s ad based business model.
The digital push comes despite the collapse of Meta’s stablecoin project. Facebook’s digital currency venture Diem announced it planned to wind down and sell off its tech to California-based Silvergate Capital.