According to Engadget and The Daily Beast, Mark Zuckerberg stated that Meta would introduce NFTs to Instagram. While he did not elaborate, he stated during a South By Southwest session that « over the next several months, the ability to bring some of your NFTs in, ideally over time be able to mint things within that environment. »
There had been rumblings that something like this was on the way. Last year, Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri stated that the company was « actively studying NFTs, » but that no announcements had been made. We learned in January that teams at Facebook and Instagram were working on NFT connections. According to the report, there has been development on features that allow you to use an NFT as a profile and mint NFTs on the platform, as well as discussions about building a marketplace.
Those first two features align with what Zuckerberg said onstage, but it’s still unclear what minting an NFT on Instagram would entail. Could you possibly sell a popular post as an NFT? Or create NFTs that serve as passes to allow individuals to see specific stories? Meta hasn’t said anything yet, but it appears that minting capabilities won’t be available until later in the game. The concept of a marketplace appears to be even further off, as it did not appear to receive a direct mention from Zuckerberg, though the large worth of sites like OpenSea surely makes it an enticing business proposition.
Of course, there’s also a metaverse component to this. According to reports, Zuckerberg discussed minting your avatar’s apparel as an NFT and transporting « it across your various destinations. » Zuckerberg has previously discussed NFTs and the metaverse, stating that he might envisage them as part of the digital world’s administration. Now it appears that he is seeing them as digital objects, as Meta previously suggested.
On Tuesday, he did mention that « a bunch of technical stuff need to be worked out before that’ll actually be frictionless to happen. » For one thing, Meta would have to ensure that the objects worked smoothly across platforms, which isn’t always straightforward. It would also have to, you know, develop a metaverse for that to happen (which does seem like a small technical hurdle).
Instagram will not be the first large social network to integrate NFT. Twitter added a feature earlier this year that allowed certain users to set an NFT they own as their profile picture. They then appear as hexagons, and anyone who is interested can click through to view the NFT’s details. Given how frequently TikTok features are nearly carbon-copied on Instagram, it wouldn’t be unexpected to see Meta’s photo-sharing (uh, « entertainment ») app do the same.