Meta, Facebook Owner aims at Finance with ‘Zuck Bucks’

Parent company of the social networking giant Facebook, Meta has come up with plans for introducing tokens, virtual coins as well as lending services to its applications. Despite its previous plans of launching a cryptocurrency falling apart, it seems that the company is focused on pursuing its ambitions where finance is concerned. Headed by CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the company is looking for new revenue streams and features that can help them in attracting as well as retaining more users. There has been a decline in popularity for its main social networking products, Instagram and Facebook, which could be a threat to the company’s business model based on ads and worth $118 billion a year.

Meta Financial Technologies, the financial arm of Facebook, has been considering entering the metaverse with the launch of a virtual currency. According to some people familiar with it, the virtual currency has been dubbed ‘Zuck Bucks’. These people said that this was not going to be a cryptocurrency on a blockchain, as the company is working on launching in-app tokens that they would control centrally. This would be quite like those that are used in gaming apps, such as Roblox, a renowned children’s game that uses robux currency. 

Those familiar with the matter and company memos indicate that Meta may also be working on developing ‘reputation tokens’, or ‘social tokens’ that could be given out as rewards for making meaningful contributions in groups on Facebook. There is also a possibility of ‘creator tokens’, which could be meant for use on Instagram by some influencers. People familiar with Meta’s initiatives have also disclosed that the company is also checking out traditional financial services, including offering loans to small businesses at attractive rates. Even though no immediate plans are in the works, Meta has had discussions with some potential lending partners. 

It should be noted that most of the aforementioned projects are still in their early stages and there is a possibility that they may be dropped altogether or changed. However, the plans regarding integration of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) into the company’s apps are more solid. The chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, had confirmed earlier that they would soon integrate NFTs on Instagram. Last week, there was an internal memo, which showed that Meta plans on launching a pilot program for sharing and posting NFTs in mid-May on Facebook. 

They would then follow it up by adding a feature that would use minting i.e. the process of creating NFTs and ownership of the same for granting membership to Facebook groups. Another internal document indicated that the company could monetize NFTs in the future via ads or fees. Back in February, the company lost more than $220 billion in terms of market value upon disclosing that people were spending a great deal more time on competitors, such as TikTok. More recently, Meta has been looking for new sources of revenue and has also increased support of e-commerce by tapping into blockchain technology and cryptocurrency. 

Some of its tech rivals, such as Google and Apple, have been hesitant of moving into this nascent space. However, Meta has had to deal with regulatory scrutiny and setbacks. In the start of the year, the company had had to wind down its crypto project called Diem and had to sell its assets to Silvergate, the Californian bank. The project had been unable to get the green light from US regulators over concerns of competition and monetary stability. The financial division of the company has also been suffering because of the departure of many employees due to internal frustrations.

Meta lost the head of its financial division, David Marcus, at the end of last year. Likewise, compliance staff, prominent engineers and almost its entire legal team also left. Zuckerberg hopes to launch a metaverse that would be avatar-filled and would help the company in generating billions of dollars. But, these new plans are a far cry from his aims of developing a cryptocurrency.