Meta to begin testing NFTs on Instagram

The company also has future plans to roll out so-called digital collectibles on Facebook, and allow people to display and share them as AR stickers on Instagram Stories.
Written by Julian Bingley, Contributor

Image: Meta

Meta CEO Mack Zuckerberg announced in a post on Wednesday that Instagram will begin testing non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on its platform this week, whilst the company also has plans to roll out similar features to Facebook at a later date, as well as allow users to display and share NFTs as AR stickers on Instagram Stories.

The move, that was first teased in March, will allow a small group of US creators and collectors to share NFTs on Instagram by linking third-party digital wallets in-app.

At launch, the third-party wallets compatible for use will include Rainbow, MetaMask, and Trust Wallet -- with Coinbase, Dapper, and Phantom to arrive later. Further to this, Meta stated that there will be no fees associated with posting or sharing a digital collectible on Instagram. Meta also announced that the supported blockchains will include Ethereum and Polygon, with Flow and Solana to come later.

Zuckerberg claimed in an interview with the Impact Theory podcast that the move is focused on "helping people connect and communicate" in the metaverse.

"I think in a lot of experiences, especially social ones where people are getting together, and want to express something about themselves, you're going to want these things to transfer," he said.

"So I think that's going to be pretty powerful … that's one of the reasons why we're starting building for NFTs not just in our metaverse and Reality Labs work, but also, across our family of apps." 

Instagram head Adam Mosseri said in a video that the platform would be running the test on a smaller scale so that Instagram can learn and gain trust from its user community given the tension between tech giants like Instagram and the decentralized ethos of Web3.

"I want to acknowledge upfront that NFTs and blockchain technologies and Web3 more broadly are all about distributing trust, distributing power ... but Instagram is fundamentally a centralized platform, so there's a tension there," Mosseri said.

The Meta move follows that of Twitter rolling out a similar feature to allow users to show off NFTs as their profile picture.

The feature is currently only available to Twitter Blue subscribers on iOS, but Twitter had informed ZDNet that Android and web will follow as the company continues to build on the feature.

"As many people's first interaction with crypto happens on Twitter, we want to make it easier for them to interact with the community, participate in the thriving NFT conversation, and take a leap into the world of digital assets directly on Twitter -- enter NFT Profile Pictures," Twitter told ZDNet at the time.

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