NFTs will arrive on Instagram as early as this week, Meta has revealed. But as the non-fungible token market collapses has the Facebook giant arrived too late or just in time to save this blockchain technology.
NFTs are a way to register digital files, including art, on a blockchain where they are immutable – meaning they can't be deleted, tampered with or altered – creating rarity. We have a guide that answers the question, What are NFTs? if you need more info. Also, take a look at our feature on how to create an NFT for free.
But NFTs are in a bit of a hole at the moment. NFTs have crashed by 92% and are struggling for the first time since last year's boom. Will Meta entering NFTs by enabling people to view, store and trade their art on Instagram come at the wrong time, or will this help push non-fungible tokens to a new level?
NFTs on Instagram 🎉This week we’re beginning to test digital collectibles with a handful of US creators and collectors who will be able to share NFTs on Instagram. There will be no fees associated with posting or sharing a digital collectible on IG.See you next week! ✌🏼 pic.twitter.com/VuJbMVSBDrMay 9, 2022
The answer is a bit of both. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg stated in a post on Facebook that NFTs are being tested as early as this week on Instagram, and that Facebook will follow. Backing up his boss, Instagram head Adam Mosseri took to Twitter (above) to post a video confirming Instagram users will be able to display their NFTs on their feed, stories, and in messages. The all-in approach from Meta will, in the long term, help broaden the appeal and use of NFTs. But in the short term things look bumpy.
In a Meta earnings call from 28 April Zuckerberg said he is spending big now to lay "the groundwork for what I expect to be a very exciting 2030s". He clearly sees the current slowdown in NFTs as a blip on the way to something bigger. He could be right, as other large companies hedge towards a non-fungible future, such as video game publisher Square Enix, NFTs are clearly not going anywhere.
Yet while NFTs may well bounce back, Meta's Facebook and Instagram plans could face an uphill struggle to convince NFT, Web 3 and blockchain evangelists that there should be a place in a decentralised world for corporations. It's one reason why using NFTs on Instagram will be free – unlike Twitter – and why Meta is exploring supporting carbon neutral blockchains such as Flow, Polygon and Solana as well as Ethereum.
While the death of NFTs is not on the cards, what they will look like in 10 years time, and how they will be used is up for grabs. This is the play Meta is making, and why many companies and NFT users are still excited, even as their Bored Ape value drops.