Facebook wants your money.
No, we’re not talking about credits for FarmVille — not this time. The social network is trying to become your online bank account for making payments and storing cash (or virtual currency).
According to Irish Times, the social network is close to getting regulatory approval in Ireland (where Facebook’s EU operations are headquartered). This approval will come from Central Bank and will allow Facebook to become a digital financial institution — to “issue units of stored monetary value that represent a claim against the company.”
Facebook created its own payments infrastructure back in 2011, when it was still using Credits as a way for site members to store and spend cash in Facebook apps. Facebook Credits were discontinued as a virtual currency in 2012.
Since then, Facebook also launched and shuttered Facebook Gifts, a sort of physical shop within Facebook that allowed users to spend real-world money on real-world items sent to their Facebook friends.
Now, Facebook only deals in gift cards.
It will be most interesting, indeed, to see what Facebook has planned next for payments — maybe a turn in the cryptocurrency space. Whatever it is, it’s bound to be a fascinating opportunity for developers as well as end users.