Instagram to let users post NFTs on the platform

10 May 2022

Image: © Rokas/Stock.adobe.com

A small group of US creators will be able to start sharing their NFTs on Instagram this week, following a similar move by Twitter.

Meta will begin testing a new feature that will allow some Instagram users to share their NFTs on the platform, starting this week.

NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, are digital files with verified identity and ownership. This verification is done through blockchain technology, creating a ‘smart contract’ for owners of the file.

Future Human

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg confirmed the move in an Instagram post yesterday (9 May), along with a video clip of a conversation between himself and Quest Nutrition co-founder Tom Bilyeu about NFTs, Web3 and the metaverse.

“This week, we’re starting to test digital collectibles on Instagram so creators and collectors can display their NFTs on their profile,” Zuckerberg wrote in the post.

Earlier this year, Twitter also allowed users to bring NFTs to its platform through their profile pictures. NFT profile pictures are distinguished from regular ones by their hexagonal shape, and only Twitter Blue subscribers on iOS devices could use the feature.

Zuckerberg confirmed that while NFT capabilities are rolling out for only Instagram creators this week, “similar functionality is coming to Facebook soon”.

He also said that Meta is working on a feature that will allow creators to “place digital art into real places” through augmented reality NFTs on Instagram Stories via Spark AR, its AR studio launched in 2017.

Instagram head Adam Mosseri also confirmed that the service allowing users to share NFTs will be free of charge – distinguishing it from the $2.99 Twitter Blue monthly subscription.

It will initially be tested with a “handful” of US creators and collectors.

“Creators are incredibly important to Instagram. But one of the challenging things that we need to solve as an industry is how to help creators make a living doing what they love,” he said in a video posted on Twitter.

“We think one really interesting opportunity for a subset of creators is NFTs – the idea of owning a unique, digital item.”

Mosseri acknowledged that while NFTs, blockchain and Web3 technologies are all about distributing trust and power, Instagram is fundamentally a centralised platform – creating a “tension” between the two.

“One of the reasons we’re starting small is that we want to make sure we can learn from the community. We want to make sure we can learn from those tenets of distributed trust and power,” he said.

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic

editorial@siliconrepublic.com