On Friday, 18 March, Meta, the holding company for Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and other services, filed eight new trademark applications with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The said patents interestingly include a whole range of topics in the web3 space, covering cryptocurrency tokens, exchanges, blockchain software and more – essentially suggesting that even after Mark Zuckerberg’s disastrous ride with attempting to build its own digital currency under Diem (previously Libra), he definitely has more plans in sight.
The patents fall in line with what Facebook had said in February, in a filing with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). “Our future initiatives to support commerce in the metaverse also may use blockchain-based assets in digital payments. Uses of blockchain-based assets in payments are a relatively new and unproven technology, and the laws and regulations surrounding them are uncertain and evolving,” Facebook had said.
In February this year, the Diem Association, which was in charge of Facebook’s Diem cryptocurrency and blockchain projects, announced the sale of its assets to California-based Silvergate Capital, marking an end to a tumultuous ride that Facebook had with the project – introduced first in 2019 as Libra.
Legislators in USA and around the world had repeatedly called out the project for being of too much power to the company on the internet. Regulators also noted that a project such as Diem could see companies such as Facebook use their already mighty status in the global business domain to gain a position of power. This raised concerns regarding monopolistic practices, and were coupled with Facebook’s myriad lawsuits and Senate appearances to answer concerns regarding their alleged anti-competitive practices.
To be sure, this never meant that Facebook would fully give up working on blockchain-based technologies and projects. The Meta group still has Novi, a digital wallet. Instagram chief Adam Mosseri has also spoken about the company “actively exploring” non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to be integrated into their platform – a move that has already been done by fellow social media platform, Twitter.
The latest patent filing, therefore, suggests that Zuckerberg is looking at a second round in the crypto ring, this time playing a wider field in the fintech space. However, there have been no statements made by the company on any new developments regarding cryptocurrencies, so we might just see something come along in the coming weeks.