Facebook is testing a virtual currency, because it’s cool and they can do it. They are not alone, the gaming industry has been at it for a long time for people who want to be more “productive” in the game space.
There is no mention, however, whether a Facebook currency could be used as a medium of exchange in the event of hyperinflation and the crash of the US dollar. I can find nobody, writing anywhere today, that is willing to cross this proverbial line in the editorial sandbox.
I personally witnessed a devaluation in Mexico. Like a tsunami, the “adjustment” happens relatively fast as values ’snap’ fluctuate relative to other currencies. Then very interesting things start to happen in the community. People will literally empty WalMart because most goods will be cheaper today than tomorrow.
As with other hyperinflation events, black markets form around various items such as gasoline, cigarettes, or Levis as people require some medium of exchange in order to buy necessities such as groceries and cooking fuel.
A Facebook currency may just be what communities will use to get through the event. However, a Facebook Currency would likely be temporary because it could not be used in Banks to capitalize assets – or, by government who can’t figure out how to tax it.
Now the question becomes, what type of social currency could be intermarry with dollars?
Here is a hint; the dollar is backed by debt which is a promise to be more productive in the future. Conveniently, “innovation” is also a promise to be more productive in the future. Two such currencies are of the same species and can intermarry yielding new economic life.
The degree to which any ‘virtual’ currency is interchangable with the dollar is the degree to which it represents human innovation. Chew on that, Facebook.