(Reuters) – Meta Platforms is readying plans to introduce virtual tokens and cryptocurrencies to its family of apps with an aim to use such virtual tokens for rewarding creators and lending and other financial services, the Financial Times reported on Wednesday.
The move, which is reported to be in its early stages, comes as Meta grows its focus on services centered around the metaverse, a virtual environment where people interact, work and play.
If implemented, it could also give Meta a new revenue channel and control over transactions in its suite of apps and services, which include Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and the Meta Quest virtual reality platform.
Meta’s cryptocurrencies, internally dubbed “Zuck Bucks”, are intended for the metaverse and may not be based on blockchain, the FT report said, citing people familiar with the matter.
Meta could introduce in-app tokens that would be centrally controlled by the company, the report said, and such tokens could be used to pay favorite creators on Instagram or reward people who make meaningful contributions in Facebook groups.
“We have no updates to share today,” a Meta spokesperson told Reuters on Wednesday, adding that the company is focused on building for the metaverse “and that includes what payments and financial services might look like.”
Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer of Meta, said last month that Instagram will introduce non-fungible tokens (NFTs) in the “near-term”.
Earlier this year, Meta joined the Crypto Open Patent Alliance (COPA), a group of companies led by Jack Dorsey’s Block that has pledged to promote open access to cryptocurrency technologies.
Pre-Meta era Facebook attempted to launch its own cryptocurrency called Libra in 2019 (later renamed Diem), and formed a consortium to develop it. Meta eventually sold its Diem assets to Silvergate Capital in January this year for $200 million.
(Reporting by Yuvraj Malik in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)