Meta wants you to mint in the metaverse.
In a conversation at SXSW, Mark Zuckerberg announced that his company plans to introduce NFTs into Instagram in the “near term.” While the Meta CEO and founder didn’t offer a ton of detail, he characterized the integration of non-fungible tokens into the company’s photo and video sharing app as something on the way once the Instagram team works out some of the technical challenges.
“We are working on bringing NFTs to Instagram in the near term,” Zuckerberg said in a conversation with Shark Tank’s Daymond John. “I’m not ready to announce exactly what that’s going to be today, but, over the next several months, the ability to bring some of your NFTs in, and hopefully over time be able to mint things within that environment.”
In December, Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri confirmed that the company was “actively exploring” NFTs with the goal of bringing the technology to a wider audience. “I think it’s an interesting place that we can play and also to hopefully help creators,” Mosseri said in an Instagram story.
Those plans were already in the works: Last summer, Instagram hosted “Creator Week,” an invite-only virtual summit that the company characterized as a “private event for NFT creators” in its invitations.
Instagram’s interest in NFTs dovetails with parent company Meta’s broader vision of a lucrative interconnected virtual world filled with digital goods. “I would hope that the clothing that your avatar is wearing in the Metaverse can be minted as an NFT and you can take it between different places,” Zuckerberg said.
While the company’s NFT plans aren’t much of a departure for anyone who’s been tracking Meta’s aspirations, the integration might be a lot to stomach for some creators averse to the technology.
Twitter enabled NFT profile pictures for premium users earlier this year — an integration that stops short of what Meta is hinting at here — but between Jack Dorsey’s crypto hype and the platform’s existing NFT community, non-fungible features might be more at home there than on Instagram.
There’s also the matter that Meta’s track record of products in the cryptoverse is spotty so far, to put it generously. Facing headwinds from central banks and regulators, the company downsized the grand plans for its own cryptocurrency until they bore little resemblance to its initial pronouncements of an industry-shaking innovation.