Facebook Considering Virtual Currency System?

Facebook’s Gareth Davis said at the GamesBeat conference in San Francisco yesterday that the company is “looking at” a virtual currency system of its own, according to the LA Times. However, despite what the LA Times suggests, it may be a little premature to assume what that means exactly, given that the company has been “looking at” doing a Platform payment system since late 2007 that has yet to launch.

Universal virtual currency, however, could make a lot of sense for Facebook, especially given the recent “virtual credits” system that was introduced in Facebook’s own virtual gifting system. In this scenario, users would buy blocks of Facebook virtual currency directly, and then be able to use them in various ways in both Facebook’s own virtual gifts store or in third party applications. Hi5 announced a similar universal virtual currency program two weeks ago for developers on the hi5 Platform.

A large virtual currency and payment ecosystem has been growing on the Facebook Platform over the last two years. Many games and other applications are already monetizing well through their own virtual currencies, either through offer providers such as OfferPal, Super Rewards, Peanut Labs, and Gambit, direct credit card or Paypal/Amazon/Google payments through providers like Jambool and Spare Change, or mobile payments through providers like Zong and Paymo.

The opportunity to plug into a virtual currency system that would be available to every Facebook user would certainly be interesting to many developers. However, neither building a global payments platform nor managing a universal virtual currency are small tasks.

Should Facebook launch a virtual currency system, the dynamics of how it would affect existing monetization systems would heavily depend on the implementation – both from a user experience and a technical integration perspective.  However, ultimately, things will simply come down to whichever option can make the best returns for a given application’s user base.

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20 Responses to “Facebook Considering Virtual Currency System?”

  1. Helcim’s Credit Card Processing Blog » Blog Archive » The Virtual Currency Pipe Dream - An insider’s look at Credit Card Processing and e-commerce in Canada says:

    [...] where you “load” your funds into your “digital” account. There are even rumors that Facebook is looking to create a virtual currency platform for their massive social [...]

  2. Pandra Williams says:

    Lil’ green patch Facebook app certainly engages a lot of FB users who want to feel good about doing good, while the developer makes money from the game’s traffic. However, there is a promise being made, saving rainforest or seas.

    Where is this rainforest? Maybe the folks who developed this program should SHOW the good folks who use the program some results. Is this REAL rainforest? Are they misleading people? Or is there a real ecosystem out there in the world that is benefiting from this game? And how do the good people who developed the application define “saved”?

    It would actually be a nice touch if there was a button, tab, or link that showed photos of the area being impacted positively.

    As an Atlanta based environmental activist, what concerns me is the abuse or misuse of the public’s desire to do good, to have a positive impact. If there is no actual good work being done in the name of this program, it will eventually lead to cynicism, and distrust of other efforts by other activists and organizations who are having an actual impact on environmental concerns. If, however, the program is doing wonderful work out there somewhere on the planet, it should be showcased and applauded.

  3. Facebook Virtual Currency System? | Digital Buzz Blog says:

    [...] rather than showing “$$” next to gifts. But now, Facebook are seriously looking to create and implement the “Facebook Virtual Currency System” as a platform wide virtual currency for all to [...]

  4. Twitter Today: March 27, 2009 | kenneth lim . net says:

    [...] Facebook considering virtual currency system? (From: @stejules) [...]

  5. Facebook Experimenting With Virtual Currency Gifting in the Feed says:

    [...] to note that this experiment appears to not be clearly related to the possible development of a universal virtual currency that could be shared by Facebook and application developers, as was speculated on last week after [...]

  6. Facebook Unlikely to Launch Universal Virtual Currency Anytime Soon says:

    [...] the GamesBeat conference in San Francisco in March, Gareth Davis of Facebook said the company was “looking at” such a currency system for the Facebook Platform. Facebook already has a virtual gifts system, and last week Facebook started experimenting with [...]

  7. Facebook Platform Payment Providers Report Strong Growth in Q1 says:

    [...] stir a couple of weeks ago around a comment Facebook’s Gareth Davis made about Facebook “looking at” its own virtual currency options, but based on what we know that reaction was [...]

  8. Interesting: Facebook Now Testing Virtual Currency Gifting Program with Branded Virtual Gifts says:

    [...] or not Facebook integrates its virtual currency with applications on the Facebook Platform, Facebook credits are quickly becoming an increasingly visible part of Facebook’s [...]

  9. Confirmed: Facebook to Launch Virtual Currency Test in Platform Applications Soon says:

    [...] there has been much speculation about Facebook’s virtual currency roadmap, this is the first time Facebook has confirmed plans to test the beginnings of what some have [...]

  10. Confirmado: Facebook ensayará su nueva moneda virtual con aplicaciones de terceros says:

    [...] en meses anteriores se había especuado mucho sobre un posible camino que Facebook recorrería en lrelación al nuevo sistema de pagos, ya hoy se puede empezar a [...]

  11. Confirmado: Facebook ensayará su nueva moneda virtual con aplicaciones de terceros | Facebook en español says:

    [...] en meses anteriores se había especuado mucho sobre un posible camino que Facebook recorrería en relación al nuevo sistema de pagos, ya hoy se puede empezar a [...]

  12. Hiring Signals: Facebook Looking for Someone to Lead Its Payments Initiatives says:

    [...] those plans have since apparently been tabled, and Facebook instead appears to be moving in a “universal virtual currency” direction. Under this approach, users would pay Facebook for virtual currency (called Facebook [...]

  13. Facebook Credits Can Now Be Bought in 14 Foreign Currencies says:

    [...] in the year, Gareth Davis of Facebook said that the company was “looking at” the creation of a universal currency system for the social platform. Recently, the company started testing its Facebook Credits-based payments [...]

  14. Mochi Media Gets Into Virtual Currency Game says:

    [...] joins an increasingly crowded and competitive market for virtual currency solutions to monetize online games, with Facebook’s own system soon to [...]

  15. Will Facebook Currency Intermarry with the US Dollar? | The Ingenesist Project says:

    [...] is testing a virtual currency, because it’s cool and they can do it. They are not alone, the gaming industry has been at it for [...]

  16. We accept Facebucks. « List It says:

    [...] Facebook brings in payment system, Financial Times Facebook considering virtual currency system? Net Advantage, Financial [...]

  17. We accept Facebucks. « Listid says:

    [...] Facebook brings in payment system, Financial Times Facebook considering virtual currency system? Net Advantage, Financial [...]

  18. » Is Virtual Currency The Future of Social Media? reactorr.com - internet marketing, online branding, SEO says:

    [...] are currently selling products directly through social networks. But the pending launch of Facebook’s virtual currency will make it far more appealing for this purpose. The Facebook currency will allow for purchasing [...]

  19. מחשבות על כפתור קטן « 1BiT – Analayzing The Web, Onebit at the time says:

    [...] פייסבוק משחררים פלאגין נוסף, הפעם מדובר בכסף ווירטואלי של פייסבוק. כבר הרבה זמן מדובר על זה שפייסבוק רוצים להיות הארנק [...]

  20. FP Tech Desk: Facebook Credits come to Canada | FP Posted | Financial Post says:

    [...] be difficult to argue that Facebook Credits have become anything but a resounding success in the year or so since first began to circulate. In May, Facebook’s founding president Sean Parker said he [...]

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