Facebook parent company Meta reportedly has plans to launch a new digital currency for the metaverse. Internally, employees at Meta are calling the unannounced currency “Zuck Bucks.” These new digital dollars won’t likely be connected to any kind of blockchain, but don’t worry; Meta, led by CEO Mark Zuckerberg, has plans to integrate NFTs into its social apps too, because we live in 2022 aka Hell.
According to a new report from the Financial Times, Meta has a number of virtual coin- and currency-related projects and plans in various stages of development, as the company looks for more ways to make cash as it loses users to rival social media apps like TikTok and suffers huge losses on Wall Street. This is how we arrive at Zuck Bucks. And no, that’s not the name of a forgotten Star Wars Expanded Universe character, but instead, the silly name that some employees internally are using for a still-unannounced, centrally controlled digital in-app token/currency Meta is developing.
As mentioned in the report, the idea is that this one currency, controlled, sold, and backed by Meta, could be used across various apps and services within its own (terrible) metaverse project. The concept is not entirely unlike the proprietary currencies that already exist in many online games, though perhaps with broader reach. Financial Times directly names Roblox’s Robux as being akin to what Meta and Facebook are trying to pull off.
Another plan: things called “social tokens” or “reputation tokens,” which would be offered to users as a reward for providing “meaningful contributions” in Facebook groups. A similar idea is to offer “creator coins” that would potentially be tied to specific influencers on Meta’s photograph sharing app, Instagram. There are also, apparently, plans for Meta to offer small business loans with “attractive rates,” though the report does explain that any and all of these projects could be shelved.
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Facebook is also looking to integrate NFTs and blockchain technology into its apps and services. It’s said these plans are “more developed” and unlikely to be dropped. One memo from last week even revealed a rough schedule, with Meta looking to launch a pilot program for NFTs on Facebook in May of this year.
After this program goes live, it will be “quickly followed” by a feature that will let Facebook groups limit memberships to users who own specific NFTs, and another project for minting NFTs via Facebook. NFTs might be monetized via “fees” or “ads” at a later date, according to a memo obtained by FT.
Kotaku has contacted Meta about these reported projects and plans.
If this all sounds a little familiar, it’s because Facebook has been trying to create blockchain-powered shit for some time now. An earlier effort, the failed “Diem,” got tied up in regulatory problems over questions about the proposed currency’s stability.
According to comments attributed to two people working in Meta’s financial division by FT’s report, the company’s current efforts are trying to avoid that fate by designing “the least regulated way to offer a digital currency.”
Thank goodness the folks at Meta are looking to create something that can avoid all those pesky regulations intended to protect consumers from scams and rug pulls.
Update: 4/8/2022: When asked for comment, a Meta spokesperson said they have no details to share at this time, but did acknowledge the company’s interest in this area. “As a company,” the statement said, “we are focused on building for the metaverse and that includes what payments and financial services might look like.”