Facebook Begins Testing Virtual Currency

There has been speculation for well over a year now about Facebook’s “soon to launch” virtual currency, but up until now, no services had been rolled out. As of last night, Facebook began testing the ability to let users send credits to each via comments according to Venturebeat’s Eric Eldon. Facebook has previously reached out to developers via the developer forum for testing out a virtual currency system but since then very little has been mentioned.

If you haven’t interacted with Facebook’s credit system yet, it’s an easy way to purchase virtual gifts that you send to your friends … at least that’s how it works currently. While it’s early to speculate that this is may be part of Facebook’s micro-payments platform, this is the first person to person credit exchange. Right now it’s not clear if there is a maximum number of credits you can send to an individual.

Why you would send your friends any substantial amount of credits is beyond me since you can currently only use those credits to purchase Facebook gifts. My guess is Facebook wants to make sure they have a scalable transaction system and starting with user-to-user credits is a great way to get started. Right now 100 credits is equal to $1 USD although other currencies have different conversion rates as far as I know.

Right now the system is extremely limited but I’d expect this to expand into other directions. Ultimately Facebook could become the social currency that eventually lets other applications integrate into the system on the platform and through Facebook Connect. For now the system will be limited to sending credits via comments.

Do you think this is an effective way for Facebook to generate more revenue? Will you be sending credits to your friends for posting good content?