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Opinion
Parmy Olson

Facebook’s Crypto Failure Is a Red Flag for Its Metaverse Plans

Mark Zuckerberg has struggled to enter new growth areas without buying companies. That’s a problem.

Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer of Meta Platforms Inc.

Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer of Meta Platforms Inc.

Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg

Despite all the fanfare around Mark Zuckerberg’s plans to create a cryptocurrency that was predicted to bring in “billions” in new revenue, the project has petered out with barely whimper. Meta Platforms Inc., the company formerly known as Facebook, agreed to sell assets tied to the project born in 2019 as Libra and now known as Diem to Silvergate Capital Corp. for about $200 million.

With Diem’s director jumping ship last November and its ambitions scaled back amid fierce pushback from regulators and central banks, the project’s death was anticipated by some. But a post mortem tells us something more troubling: Facebook continues to struggle to develop new services without buying them, and in a toughening regulatory environment, that does not bode well for Zuckerberg’s metaverse plans, a pivot he has bet the entire company on.