Meta is bringing the NFT to Instagram in the ‘near term’

Mark Zuckerberg suggested that Instagram users would soon be able "to mint things within that environment."
16 March 2022
  • Mark Zuckerberg hints people could show off their existing NFT and potentially mint new ones in Meta-owned Instagram
  • Zuckerberg also believes that NFTs could one day play a role in the company’s eventual metaverse

During the South by Southwest conference yesterday, Mark Zuckerberg announced that Instagram is working on a technical functionality to allow users to display their non-fungible token (NFT) on their Instragram profiles. Users may also be able to “mint” new NFTs within the app. The pronouncement came as Meta aspires for NFTs, blockchain-based digital-only assets, to play a role in the company’s eventual metaverse.

During an interview at the conference on Tuesday, and without sharing on specifications, Zuckerberg commented his company was “working on bringing NFTs to Instagram in the near term”. He also suggested that people would be able to show off their existing NFTs and potentially also mint new ones. 

“I’m not ready to kind of announce exactly what that’s going to be today. But over the next several months, the ability to bring some of your NFTs in, hopefully over time be able to mint things within the environment (Instagram),” Zuckerberg reiterated.

It isn’t the first time Meta had openly spoken about NFTs. Zuckerberg along with other execs have previously expressed an interest in the digital ledger, with Instagram’s top executive Adam Mosseri saying the company was “actively exploring” the technology. The Financial Times reported in January that the company was hoping to add NFTs into its crypto wallet Novi.

During the conference this week, Zuckerberg also emphasized that NFTs might play a role in the company’s eventual metaverse. “I would hope that you know, the clothing that your avatar is wearing in the metaverse, you know, can be basically minted as an NFT and you can take it between your different places,” he said.

But he added that “There’s like a bunch of technical things that need to get worked out before that’ll really be seamless to happen.” Meta, formerly Facebook, did attempt to create its own stablecoin, known as Libra, very early into the hype but that initiative eventually failed. Meta ended up selling the cryptocurrency venture in January for US$200 million, but Zuckerberg’s remarks on NFTs recently indicate that he is looking to set a better foot in the blockchain space.

The Financial Times report quoted sources that said Meta has also discussed launching a marketplace for users to buy and sell NFTs. Even Meta rival Twitter is testing NFT showcasing capabilities, while Reddit has launched its own collection of NFT avatars.

NFTs began as a very niche phenomenon revolving around crypto artists but now are on the verge of transforming into an ecosystem with billions of dollars flowing through it. Although they’ve been around since 2014, NFTs only gained notoriety over the last year, when a colossal US$41 billion was spent by collectors and punters trading in NFT. 

2021 also saw the arrival of numerous new players within the NFT space. While many crossed over from the related worlds of blockchain and cryptocurrency, key new players came from traditional art and auction markets, and others from unpredictable directions like consumer industries, fashion, and finance.