Peer-to-peer payment services seem to be the next big thing, with companies like Blippy and Square trying to find new ways for people to transfer their money outside of traditional banking channels. Buxter is a Facebook application that allows users to send US dollars and Euros to their friends on the social networking site. It launched this week, in what Mashable founder Pete Cashmore calls, “the next logical leap” from sharing almost everything else, like photos, videos, and messages, on the site. Currently, the application is only available to certain users, but should soon be open to everyone with a Facebook account.
Why It Will Catch On
Although Cashmore has some reservations about an application that must earn the trust of its users while organically growing its user base, he does believe that there is potential in the concept. Facebook itself already allows its members to purchase “Facebook Credits” for virtual games and gifts. The company recently published a blog post titled “Expanding Our Commitment to Facebook Credits” which hints that they are taking their Credits system seriously and that users can expect upgrades to the System as soon as April.
Revamping the Facebook Credits system will be more efficient than Buxter because over 80,000,000 users are already linked to the system via Facebook’s most popular game, Farmville. In conjunction with the recently announced partnership with Paypal, the Facebook Credits system could allow for friends to settle a dinner bill online, make purchases in the Facebook marketplace, or send a birthday gift, all from the comfort of a singular online account. With the myriad advancements in mobile Facebook applications, Cashmore surmises that it can’t be long before this can all be done from users’ phones as well.
Facebook is the most ubiquitous social networking site on the web. While there are plenty of sites that allow for currency exchange online, Facebook offers the unique ability to incorporate monetary conversion into the pre-existing platform for social exchange. Online communities may soon be host to all sorts of social– and monetary– currency.