Facebook Pay Rebrands to Meta Pay to Align with Broader Metaverse Ambitionsby Fintechnews Switzerland July 21, 2022
Facebook’s parent company Meta has rebranded its online payments service to Meta Pay, bringing the firm’s payments offering closer to its broader rebrand and aligning it with its grand ambition to building the ultimate metaverse.
On June 23, 2022, Facebook Pay officially became Meta Pay, a change that is first being rolled out in the US, before being extended globally, Stephane Kasriel, head of commerce and fintech at Meta Platforms, wrote in a blog post.
Meta Pay will be the same as Facebook Pay, he said, allowing users to add and manage their payment methods, make payments and purchases, and send money across all of Meta’s platforms and third parties supporting the digital wallet, view payment history, and update their settings in one place.
Enabling payments in the metaverse
The name change is the first step in Meta’s ambition to build a “digital wallet for the metaverse,” co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, wrote in a June 22, 2022 Facebook post.
Sharing his vision, Zuckerberg said the digital wallet should allow users to securely manage their identity, how they pay and what they own in the metaverse, whether that’s fiat currencies or digital items, like clothing, art and videos. It should also provide users with proof-of-ownership over the digital goods they possess.
Ideally, users would be able to transport there digital items across different virtual environments and use them easily on any platform. This level of interoperability would deliver much better experiences for people and larger opportunities for creators, Zuckerberg said.
Meta’s plans for its payments business was detailed earlier this year by Kasriel who shared in a blog post aspirations to create a “single payment experience.”
This vision is articulated around three key goals and capabilities: allowing users to prove who they are and carry that identity with them across different virtual environments; allowing them to store the digital goods they own and take them wherever they go; and allowing them to pay easily and with the payment method they want wherever they are virtually.
The company’s focus on the Meta Pay digital wallet was further evidenced earlier this month by the announcement of the termination of Novi, the social media company’s digital wallet payments pilot. The pilot will be shut down on September 01, 2022, effectively ending its three-year Diem experiment with cryptocurrencies and stablecoins.
The company told CoinDesk it had plans to repurpose its technology for future products and its metaverse initiative.
“We are already leveraging the years spent on building capabilities for Meta overall on blockchain and introducing new products, such as digital collectibles,” Meta told the media outlet. “You can expect to see more from us in the Web3 space because we are very optimistic about the value these technologies can bring to people and businesses in the metaverse.”
NFTs and digital collectibles
In parallel, Meta is experimenting with non-fungible tokens (NFTs), launching in May the testing of a feature that allows a select group of US creators and collectors to share and showcase the NFTs they have created or bought on Instagram.
The feature includes a connection with a digital wallet, the ability to share and post digital collectibles and their public information, as well as automatic tagging of both the creator and collector.
The test was extended to a select group of Facebook users in June.
Kasriel told the Financial Times in an interview earlier this month that despite the sharp downturn in the cryptocurrency market, Meta’s plans to bring digital collectibles to its users remain unchanged. The firm views NFTs as an opportunity to attract creators back to Facebook and Instagram by giving them a means to monetize their content.
“The opportunity [Meta] sees is for the hundreds of millions or billions of people that are using our apps today to be able to collect digital collectibles, and for the millions of creators out there that could potentially create virtual and digital goods to be able to sell them through our platforms,” Kasriel said.
Facebook’s parent company changed its name to Meta Platforms in October 2021, and pledged billions of dollars of investments to build what it believes is the successor of mobile Internet: an immersive virtual environment available through augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) headsets and other hardware.