It makes sense, right? With the sheer amount of people Facebook has connected to one another, getting into the money game seems logical.

It has been reported by the Financial Times that Facebook has applied for a licence in Ireland that would allow it to start entering the e-money services game. Why Ireland? Facebook's base of operations for all of Europe (and certain other territories) is in Dublin, and a licence granted there would give them access to Europe.

Whilst you couldn't move a few weeks back from all the talk about bitcoin, Facebook entering the e-money industry would open up many new avenues for a service which has found multiple ways of monetising itself over the years. Although there is a distinction that should be drawn up, lest you think this is Zuckerberg and co's attempts at capitalising on the flavour of the month. The e-money services it looks like (according to rumour) they're looking to compete against (but maybe also integrate with) are those provided by companies such as Western Union, TransferWise and Moni Technologies. So, long distance transfers, but also with the potential to have a Paypal-type payment system.

Ninety percent of the money Facebook earns from users comes via advertising. This may come as no surprise; it's quite apparent to anyone who's used the site over the past few years that ad-space has grown. Whilst successful, there's always going to be a roof on it, and so expanding the ways in which it can fund, not only payments through the site, but payments to it, is naturally going to be an avenue Facebook looks into. Take for example the stickers that Facebook introduced for its messaging service around this time last year: there was a buzz around the fact that an ominous 'free' label was peppered around the sticker packs it had on offer. Almost twelve months later, you'll find these sticker packs are still free, although there are branded sticker packs available to download (I'll freely admit I currently have the Snoopy collection). The point being here that Facebook needs to drive alternative means of payments, and so perhaps getting into the e-money market is a natural first-step.

With the acquisitions Facebook has made in the past couple of years (Instagram, WhatsApp, and, more recently, Oculus Rift), finding a way to integrate a payment solution within their services will make it easier to monetise going forward. Sure, it's probably going to be awful, and people will moan, and it'll be rammed down our throats (at least it'll feel like it), but there's the positives to think of too. If the Facebook team can bring accessibility to e-money transfers, they'll be onto a winner. Transferring money long distances may not become simpler as such, but it could bring the ability for it to happen to a much broader audience. With a push in emerging markets, Facebook's advantage could be in bringing their technology to markets that actually need the service, as opposed to those that see it as another chance to bitch about getting bugged to buy, I don't know, a new plough in Farmville (people still play Farmville, right?).

In the same way that Twitter brought communication networks to emerging markets by having a fully integrated solution driven by texting alone, Facebook could bring long-distance money transfers to the places that would benefit from it most.