Yuri Milner‘s Digital Sky Technologies (DST) owns 10% of Facebook. Facebook is currently valued at $70 billion, resulting in a smooth $7 billion value on secondary markets for Milner’s Facebook share. Facebook’s big monetization move isn’t in advertising… it’s in selling and distributing Facebook Credits around the net. Facebook first started rolling out Facebook Credits in the U.S. primarily as a donation method for U.S. Facebook users (but not so much in other countries), to thwart the American perception that Facebook was actually trying to become a bank. At the World Economic Forum, however, it became clear that Facebook wants to be a bank.
Yuri Milner’s company recently invested in Paul Graham’s Y Combinator to fund and take ownership in early-stage tech startups in the Valley. Now, SwipeGood, a YCombinator company partially owned by Milner, is rolling out a service offering which allows users to enroll their credit or debit cards and automatically round up every purchase to the nearest dollar for charity.
My prediction is this: Facebook will partner or buy a piece of SwipeGood, if its new idea works and people actually use it, and try to create a scalable pricing model, allowing people to connect their debit cards to Facebook via SwipeGood, and earn discounts and points based on their freinds’ transactions. Once this is up and running, Facebook would have successfully made itself the middle-man between banks and retailers. Then, they will eventually kick out the current middlemen, Visa and Mastercard. Then, they could roll out a cross-currency platform… one currency for all countries… call it Facebook Credits, the world’s currency. This might seem far-fetched, but listen to this podcast at the World Economic Forum and be wowed. This is only a prediction… and is probably not based on insider knowledge.
I’m sure Facebook’s other big investor, Goldman Sachs, would loooove this.