Facebook’s Gareth Davis said at the GamesBeat conference in San Francisco earlier this year that Facebook is “looking at” a virtual currency, that makes perfect sense. Is it a pure virtual currency or is it kind of a dual currency, meaning including real money? A Facebook currency can facilitate a lot of new behaviors. A virtual currency and payment ecosystem has already been slowly growing within Facebook over the last 2 years.

Virtual currencies do exist today, 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. But a Facebook currency is one step forward.

China is taking virtual currency very seriously. China worries that “virtual” game money could affect its ability to control its money supply. So virtual currencies are now regulated in China, probably not by the central bank. No kidding. It has yet to become part of G7 agenda. There is a reason for the concern. Last year, nearly $2 billion in virtual currency was traded in China, according to the China Internet Network Information Center. Some experts say they believe there is a much larger underground economy in the virtual world. People are trading things.

What about currency exchange? In the first quarter of 2010, social sites IMVU and MyYearbook will launch a virtual currency exchange allowing users from either service to exchange currency between the sites. This is a small step. Currency Connect is billed as a "cross property virtual currency exchange" system similar to how you would change US dollars into Japanese Yen. But, it does make me wonder whether a bank or credit card company should get into the game. How about a standard online currency? Someone we can use to invest and earn interest online? I want to sell my CafeWorld in Facebook if the price is right.

Original Post: http://mootee.typepad.com/innovation_playground/2009/12/should-banks-get-into-virtual-currencies-i-want-my-facebook-savings-account.html

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