Picture this: You're standing in front of a virtual coffee shop on the way to work in the metaverse and you need to buy your morning coffee. How do you pay for it?
If the answer is left up to Meta and Mark Zuckerberg, you'd likely be using so-called "Zuck Bucks", according to a report (opens in new tab) in the Financial Times.
Meta is said to be working on creating virtual coins, tokens, and lending services for its apps, in part to generate revenue but also facilitate payments in virtual worlds.
These tools are unlikely to be based on blockchain technology, according to the FT, but instead operate like virtual currencies in games, such as Roblox, that use in-app tokens.
Internal documents show Meta is working on "social tokens” (also referred to as “reputation tokens”), issued as rewards for meaningful contributions to Facebook Groups and other on-platform activities.
Most of the efforts are in the very early stages and might never see the light of day. Plans to more deeply integrate NFTs into Meta's apps are fairly developed, however, and could be announced by mid-May.
Move fast and create nice virtual experiences
Meta has been experiencing a bit of a rough patch recently, after its financial results showed a decline in American daily active users for the first time. The company has lot around $220 billion in market value since February.
Led by Zuckerberg, the company is spending around $10 billion per year on creating the "metaverse", a virtual world similar to Second Life that will, if all goes to plan, host many interactions that currently happen in the real world with the help of augmented and virtual reality headsets.
With the rise of TikTok, Meta's family of apps have been put under intense strain for the first time (bar perhaps Snap's rise) and the company is looking for the next big thing.
The FT report details a "mass exodus" of staff working on its failed payments project Diem, which was shut down after intense criticism from governments and regulatory bodies.
Whether these projects are successful remain to be seen, but Zuckerberg has proven himself to be a world-class operator and betting against Meta – which still generates billions in profit every quarter – could be a mistake.