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Can Facebook Credits Become Common Currency?

Could Facebook establish its virtual Credits as a real-world currency? "At first blush, this seems like a crazy idea," admits Bloomberg Businessweek's Ben Kunz. "Facebook would need to overcome consumer privacy concerns, expand its Credits into a payment system that works everywhere, and surmount regulatory hurdles to handle businesses such as deposits and mortgage servicing." Yet, as Kunz explains, the idea becomes less far-fetched in the context of mobile payments.

"The next payment platform is no farther than that glass gadget in your pocket," he insists, noting the emergence of services like Square, which help merchants process accept credit cards via smartphone. Apple could surely compete in this space through iTunes. Google, meanwhile, recently partnered with MasterCard and Citigroup to put mobile payment functionality into Android phones. "But Facebook today both owns the Web ... and is a dominant app on smartphones," says Kunz. "Beyond this customer base, Facebook has embedded 'Like' buttons on almost every major Website, becoming the only real product praise utility."

Read the whole story at Bloomberg Businessweek »

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