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Crypto & fintech

Zuck wants to build AR NFTs for Instagram because… maybe he’s bored?

Only Ethereum and Polygon based NFTs are supported for now

Zuck wants to build AR NFTs for Instagram because… maybe he’s bored?
Ivan Mehta
Story by

Ivan Mehta

Ivan covers Big Tech, India, policy, AI, security, platforms, and apps for TNW. That's one heck of a mixed bag. He likes to say "Bleh." Ivan covers Big Tech, India, policy, AI, security, platforms, and apps for TNW. That's one heck of a mixed bag. He likes to say "Bleh."

IT’S HERE. If you were eagerly waiting for NFTs to arrive on Instagram, the moment is has arrived.

You can share NFTs on your feed, in stories, and in messages. But for now, you have to be in the US and you have to be one of the “handful of creators and collectors” chosen by Instagram to use the feature. So much for decentralization, eh?

Instagram’s head, Adam Mosseri, said in a video that you’ll be able to see NFTs with a “digital collectibles” tag. If you tap on it, you’ll see details like a description of the NFT, the name of the creator, and the owner.

At the beginning of this test, Instagram will support collectibles minted on Ethereum and Polygon blockchains, with support for Flow and Solana coming later. Instagram will support MetaMast, Rainbow, and Trust Wallet initially, and later add support for Coinbase, Dapper, and Phantom.

Mosseri said you don’t have to pay any fees to share an NFT. He also acknowledged that Instagram is a centralized platform, so it wants to learn from the community about distributing trust and power.

Unlike Twitter’s experiment to let its subscribers set NFTs as profile pictures, Instagram doesn’t have any paying users. So, it had to handpick creators who can use the feature, but that doesn’t seem like the best way to “distribute trust.”

Meta’s ambitions go beyond just sharing NFTs

Meta’s announcement had an underlying theme of the company thinking about NFTs beyond sharing them on feeds.

Mosseri said that the creator economy is important to Instagram, and one of the challenges the industry faces is to help creators make money. Maybe we’ll see Instagram supporting sales of digital collectibles in the future.

There are a couple of indicators to that extent. Mobile developer Alessandro Paluzzi has tweeted several times about Instagram testing digital collectibles, and a few of those screenshots also hint toward a bidding process.

Last night, app sleuth Jane Manchun Wong tweeted about NFT marketplace OpenSea working on a “connect to Instagram” button. This could be used for sales or even promotional purposes for artists.

News about more of the company’s NFTs ambitions came from a video Mark Zuckerberg posted on Facebook. A clip from his conversation with YouTuber Tom Bilyeu suggested that the company also wants to bring NFTs to Facebook.

What’s more, it‘s also exploring the creation of augmented reality NFTs through its Spark AR tech, so you can “place digital art into physical spaces.”

A deleted thread of tweets by a Facebook exec also hinted toward using NFTs in the metaverse to share digital goods and experiences.

Meta’s just getting started with NFTs, and it’s already declared that it has loftier ambitions than the likes of Twitter.

But as we noted in our story in March, the space is ripe with scams and thefts. So it’s important for the company to protect creators and collectors from hacks and derivative art projects by creating security and education tools about NFTs.

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