Meta isn’t giving up on currency anytime soon. Earlier this year, the company shelved plans for its Diem cryptocurrency (earlier known as Libra), but there seems to be considerable movement on a new virtual currency that is likely to cover the gamut of Meta’s platforms. Internally, it is reported this has been dubbed as “Zuck Bucks”, though it is not very likely that this will be the final name. It may, if true, very well become the currency within Facebook and Instagram, as well as any upcoming metaverse experiences.
The idea behind the virtual currency is to create what we may already be familiar with as in-app tokens. The widest implementation at this time would perhaps be the Robux currency that works within the Roblox universe – you need to buy Robux with real money, similar to in-app purchases you may be familiar with in apps and games. It wouldn’t be surprising if Roblox is Meta’s inspiration, at least the numbers are enticing enough to try and replicate.
For financial year 2021 numbers reported by the company earlier this year, Roblox Corporation saw revenue increase 108% year over year, at $1.9 billion. Users engaged with the platform for 41.4 billion hours through the year, a 40% annual increase. For revenue, Robux is one of the biggest revenue generators on the platform, because all in-platform transactions are done using the virtual currency only.
This also could link up nicely with Meta’s plans for non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, on Instagram. Last month, Meta confirmed NFTs will be coming to the social media platform in the coming months. Exactly how it’ll be, isn’t clear, but it may be a big step forward for a social media platform that relies heavily on original content.
Meta must feel they have a point to prove in the cryptocurrency space. When Diem was finally wound up earlier this year, it was after the regulators in the US refused to give it the necessary approvals on account of concerns over currency valuation, stability of the cryptocurrency value and how it’ll impact competition.
NFTs are incredibly popular in the art space. Whether Meta will work on getting users options to import NFTs or even create new ones on the platform (including minting them within the space – virtual currency will be very useful there), we’ll only know over time. Meta may want to avoid making things complicated and stay away from blockchain based virtual currencies.
Instagram has to do NFTs soon if it has to stay in the race. Twitter has already moved ahead with the option that’ll let users import NFTs into the platform to set as their profile photos. Multiple wallets are compatible. Could the Zuck Coins virtual currency have different tiers, differentiating between users and creators, and holding different value for each?
Meta is in a need to refresh its overall product line-up, that includes Facebook, Messenger, and Instagram. There has been a significant slowdown in active user metrics for the platforms, something the FY 2021 numbers which the company reported earlier this year, indicated – alongside forecast of significant dips in revenue as Apple and Google lock down iOS and Android respectively to protect users from being tracked for online advertising. Meta must speed up identification and implementation of more revenue streams.
Facebook, as Meta was formerly known as, had a tryst with virtual currency back in 2009 with the Facebook Credits for games such as Farmville. The currency then drove in-game purchases across different titles, but the project was later put on the backburner.
This is also important for Meta Financial Technologies, which is Meta’s finance division. That’ll be the team in-charge for developing products and solutions which will be used for payments and financial systems across the current products, and the future ones. WhatsApp and Messenger’s in-app payment systems are important with immediacy, while metaverse projects will beckon soon.