After a disastrous earnings report, Meta’s plans involve doing more of the same. In this case, by leaning further into NFTs and letting creators mint their own on Instagram.
Instagram users can make their own “digital collectibles,” which is just Meta jargon for NFTs, to sell both on and off the social media platform, according to a blog post from the parent company. See, back in May, Instagram announced its “Digital Collectibles” system to show off NFTs on profiles. So make no mistake, this is just minting NFTs but using different words.
“They’ll have an end-to-end toolkit — from creation (starting on the Polygon blockchain) and showcasing, to selling,” the blog post continued. “People can easily support their favorite creators by buying their digital collectibles directly within Instagram. We’re testing these new features with a small group of creators in the US first, and hope to expand to more countries soon.”
Meta said it is also adding support for the Solana blockchain and Phantom wallet. Meta has been adding support for more blockchains and wallet since it rolled out the feature before the massive NFT crash of the summer. OpenSea will also add information like collection names and descriptions to Instagram.
What isn’t clear, however, is whether there is a cost to mint new NFTs. Rolling out a free, or very competitively affordable, way to make NFTs on a mainstream social media app could lead to an influx of new “digital collectibles” created for the sake of merely creating them. Considering how environmentally damaging NFTs are, that might lead to more serious implications beyond jumping on the digital Beanie Babies equivalent of the 2020s.
It’s also unclear how much of a cut Meta will take if the NFTs are sold on its platform, or out the cost to create the token should there be a fee. And if people are minting NFTs in the hopes of profiting off a sale that may never come, well that wouldn’t be great for users’ real-world wallets, either.
Oh, and Instagram has “borrowed” another feature from other social media apps again. This time through the addition of subscriptions, “Stars,” and “Gifts.” Subscriptions have been used everywhere from Substack, to Patreon, to OnlyFans, and The Verge notes the similarities between “Stars and Gifts” and TikTok’s “Coins and Gifts” and YouTube’s “Special Thanks.” Twitter also has subscription-based “Super Follows” — for now, anyway.
Image credits: Meta