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Why Are NFTs Coming to Instagram?

Examples of NFTs in Instagram.

Despite their massive decline in popularity and value, NFTs are coming to Instagram. Select users will have the option to display and share NFTs on their profile beginning the week of May 16th. Instagram claims that NFT integration will help artists make money, but Instagram is a business, so it’s obviously searching for a way to profit off of NFTs.

Mark Zuckerberg calls this a “test,” as Instagram will slowly integrate NFTs with its platform. In the beginning, Instagram will basically treat NFTs like fancy pictures. They’ll have a shiny animation (like holographic baseball cards) and will include both the artist’s and owner’s names. Further on, NFTs will work with Instagram’s AR filters, though the details are a bit murky.

Unlike Twitter, which only offers NFT avatars to Twitter Blue subscribers, Instagram will let people share NFTs for free. Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri says that the platform will help support artists, and that Instagram will work with the crypto community to build new features without violating the decentralized nature of NFTs.

But as we know, the promise that NFTs will help artists rarely comes true. People regularly steal artists’ work to create NFTs, small artists who try to make NFTs often lose money doing so, and frankly, the most popular NFTs are butt-ugly generative images pumped out by an algorithm.

Obviously, and I shouldn’t need to say this, Facebook (now Meta) believes that it can turn a profit by embracing NFTs. The company has not explicitly stated this, though Mark Zuckerberg recently explained the need for Facebook to diversify its revenue streams through a two-pronged strategy.

The first step is to make Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp more profitable. This “Family of Apps,” as Zuckerberg describes it, is currently suffering due to “Apple’s iOS changes,” which have made collecting and selling user data more difficult.

We previously saw Instagram open an in-app marketplace with a custom payment system, so an integrated NFT marketplace wouldn’t be much of a surprise. And although Facebook hasn’t discussed an Instagram NFT store, it previously attempted to create a cryptocurrency and has repeatedly mentioned how NFTs could contribute to the metaverse.

And that brings us to the second part of Facebook’s strategy, which is the “Reality Labs” section of its business—the metaverse, mixed reality, and so on. When Mark Zuckerberg introduced his metaverse concept last year, he discussed how NFTs could drive a virtual economy, and even shared a concept video of musician Jon Batiste selling NFT merch at a virtual concert.

Even if Instagram goes without building an NFT marketplace, the company will learn a lot about NFTs. This knowledge could contribute to the metaverse’s crypto economy, and of course, it could help integrate that economy with Facebook’s social media apps.

Anyways, get ready, because NFTs are coming to Instagram. The digital assets will later arrive on Facebook, though the company hasn’t announced when that’ll happen.

Source: Zuckerberg, Mosseri

Andrew Heinzman Andrew Heinzman
Andrew is the News Editor for Review Geek, where he covers breaking stories and manages the news team. He joined Life Savvy Media as a freelance writer in 2018 and has experience in a number of topics, including mobile hardware, audio, and IoT. Read Full Bio »