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Instagram Journeys Into the Metaverse, Starts Testing NFTs

Josh King "JetSet" Madrid

Josh King "JetSet" Madrid

The gaily digital world of Instagram is finally breaking the NFT sphere. In March 2022, Meta, formerly known as Facebook, announced its plans to create an Instagram NFT marketplace leading to months of speculations. However, on May 9, CEO Mark Zuckerberg confirmed that the beloved social media platform would finally begin testing NFTs on Instagram this week.

Mark Zuckerberg talks with entrepreneur and prominent NFT influencer Tom Bilyeu about “digital collectibles” coming to Instagram in a video posted to his Facebook and Instagram accounts. “This week, we’re starting to test digital collectibles on Instagram so creators and collectors can display their NFTs on their profile,” the social media patriarch wrote in the caption of his post. “Similar functionality is coming to Facebook soon, along with augmented reality NFTs on Instagram Stories via Spark AR so you can place digital art into physical spaces,” he added in the video.

This means Instagram users will be able to display NFTs on their profiles in Meta’s continuing efforts to expand the possibilities of self-expression across social media and the metaverse. In an email, Christine Pai, a Meta communications representative, confirmed that no fees would be associated with posting or sharing a digital collectible on Instagram. She also elaborated on how digital collectibles will work on Instagram.

To begin with, there will be a trial group of creators and collectors who will be able to post NFTs they own or created by linking third-party digital wallets such Rainbow, MetaMask, and Trust in-app. Support for Coinbase, Dapper, and Phantom will soon follow. The cryptocurrency that is supported at launch includes Ethereum and Polygon. Flow and Solana will be added further down the road.

This multichain approach will surely entice a wide variety of NFT enthusiasts to utilize Instagram’s forthcoming NFT tools, possibly even those worried about the environmental implications of NFTs, as several chains have far lower energy costs than Ethereum. In addition, NFTs displayed on the app will receive a unique ‘shimmer’ visual treatment, and both the creator and owner of the NFT will be attributed for the content.

In a press release, Meta’s communications team also offered insights into how Instagram’s NFT features will look. In the video, Zuckerberg outlined why Meta was getting into NFTs, asserting that the company wants to help creators make money. “I think a big part of what we need to do is lean into all of the different ways creators could make money. Some of that will be things like supporting commerce, and part of that will be NFTs and ownership around that. Part of it will be about making it easy for people to pay for things,” he said.

He concluded by noting that NFTs are unique in helping forge a new kind of creative economy for artists. “I think the more different tools that creators have to make money, the more they’re going to be able to do their work and hire people to join their team to build out even more use cases. And that will propel all these platforms forward,” he said.


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