Instagram head Adam Mosseri announced today that the platform is going to start testing NFTs with select creators in the United States this week. Mosseri noted that there will be no fees associated with posting or sharing a digital collectible on Instagram. At launch, the supported blockchains for showcasing NFTs on Instagram are Ethereum and Polygon, with support for Flow and Solana coming soon. The third-party wallets compatible for use at launch will include Rainbow, MetaMask, and Trust Wallet, with Coinbase, Dapper and Phantom coming soon.
Creators and people who are part of the test can now share NFTs that they’ve made or that they’ve bought. You can share these NFTs in your main Instagram Feed, Stories or in messages. Mosseri outlined that only a limited number of people have access to the Instagram test, but the company plans to roll out more functionality related to NFTs in the future once it gets feedback from its initial testing.
“I want to acknowledge upfront that NFTs and blockchain technologies are all about distributing trust and distributing power,” Mosseri said in his announcement. “But Instagram is fundamentally a centralized platform, so there’s a tension there. So one of the reasons why we’re starting small is we want to make sure that we can learn from the community. We want to make sure that we work out how to embrace those tenets of distributed trust and distributed power, despite the fact that we are, yes, a centralized platform. We do think that one of the unique opportunities we have to to make web3 technology accessible to a much broader range of people. And NFTs specifically we think will be interesting not only to creators who create NFT art, but also to people who want to collect it.”
Instagram told TechCrunch in an email that the creators who are part of the initial NFTs test include: @adambombsquad, @bluethegreat,
Mosseri also noted that the creator economy is incredibly important to Instagram, but that one of the challenging things the company is looking at is how although there are currently a number of different ways for creators to make money, a lot of them are unpredictable and changing rapidly. Mosseri said this new launch will create an interesting opportunity for a subset of creators.
Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in an announcement that similar functionality will be coming to Facebook soon and possibly to other Meta apps in the future. Zuckerberg also said Meta is going to work on augmented reality NFTs, or 3D NFTs, that you can bring to Instagram Stories using Spark AR, which is the company’s software AR platform.
Alexandru Voica, EMEA tech comms at Meta, said in a series of tweets that have since been deleted that “in the metaverse, people will buy, use, and share digital goods and experiences, and NFTs are a key piece of the puzzle for making this a reality.”
Voica went on to note that Meta is starting with NFTs because they are an important aspect of the economic potential of the metaverse, but that they are just one example of the technologies that the company is exploring. Voica said that Meta is exploring a wide range of web3 technology because the company believes these technologies will reduce costs, expand access and accelerate innovation for creators and people around the world.
The official launch comes a few weeks after Zuckerberg said in a conversation at SXSW that Meta would be introducing NFTs to Instagram soon, which is one of the reasons why today’s announcement isn’t exactly a surprise. In addition, 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 NFT test comes as Twitter enabled NFT profile pictures for premium users earlier this year. Instagram and Twitter aren’t the only digital giants looking to embrace NFTs, as YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki suggested that the platform may embrace web3 technologies, including NFTs, as a means of helping YouTube creators make money.