Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has revealed that its video and photo-sharing application, Instagram, is preparing to add nonfungible tokens (NFTs) to the platform.
“We’re working on bringing NFTs to Instagram in the near term,” Zuckerberg reportedly stated in an appearance at the South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas. The Facebook founder did not provide specifics on when the implementation would happen.
Casey Newton, writer for the Platformer newsletter, tweeted from the conference that Zuckerberg also said that he hopes in the coming months, Instagram users would be able to mint their own NFTs on the platform.
Last October, Meta famously changed its name from Facebook to focus on its metaverse-related projects. Company reports from the last quarter of 2021 revealed for the first time that the financial details of its virtual and augmented reality research and development business, Reality Labs, showed losses at over $10 billion. To be fair, though, Meta’s corner of the Metaverse is not yet live, so it’d be hard to turn a profit from it.
This isn’t Meta’s first attempt at a crypto-related project. In 2019, the company signaled plans to create “Libra,” later rebranded to “Diem,” a United States dollar-pegged stablecoin that flunked due to a lack of regulatory approval and community pushback. The project was purchased by Silvergate Capital, although some ex-Meta employees are now looking to revive the open-source stablecoin through building a network of their own.
Social media companies have been looking to implement cryptocurrencies and NFTs into their platforms following Twitter’s famous decision to add support for NFT profile pictures in January. Reddit implemented NFT avatars from its own collection and adult site OnlyFans enabled NFT profile pictures in December 2020.
It’s not only social media giants looking to get in on the action that crypto offers. Traditional finance companies are showing their interest in the space with major credit card company, American Express, hinting at its expansion into the Metaverse, according to trademark filings.
Applications to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office this week showed American Express primed to offer virtual banking and exchange services, cryptocurrency services and enabling the use of its credit cards at an NFT marketplace.