Facebook's virtual currency, Credits, could one day become a multibillion-dollar business, experts say, supplanting systems such as PayPal to become the Web's digital-payment mechanism of choice. Combined with Facebook Connect, Credits could allow Facebook to offer seamless checkout systems to third-party sites; still, analysts say, the technology's triumph is far from assured. "Facebook is a very innovative company, but we have had two large innovative companies, Google and Amazon, that have spent a fair amount of effort on payments," said one Citigroup analyst. "I have to think that the odds against Facebook are steep."

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