The Financial Times reports that social media giant Meta is considering allowing users to create, showcase, and sell NFTs on Facebook and Instagram. It would be the biggest mainstream endorsement of NFTs to date if the company releases such tools. NFTs could that way be solidified as a legitimate digital asset. The plans are “at an early stage and could change.”, according to the Financial Times. In addition to developing a prototype that will allow users to upload and modify their NFTs, Facebook and Instagram are working on a feature that will allow users to upload and display their NFTs as profile pictures. They also discussed launching a marketplace for users to buy and sell NFTs.
Meta executives have expressed interest in NFTs in the past as well, so it’s impossible to say how far along these plans are. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in October that the metaverse would need to support “digital asset ownership.”, or NFTs, as Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri acknowledged in December.
NFTs have also drawn the interest of stalwarts like Reddit and Twitter. Recently, other established web platforms have been supporting non-fungible tokens more and more. Several blockchain-based items are being showcased on Twitter, while Reddit has released additional NFT avatars. The NFT assets are set to grow in significance if existing tech giants embrace them, despite criticism of the speculative value (prices rise and fall at an astronomical rate) and security (they claim ownership).
As the name suggests, an NFT is a means of claiming ownership of a digital item via a unique address on the blockchain, such as a JPG or a GIF. The legitimacy of these assets rests upon recognition from existing online platforms, despite claims that they embody a decentralized ownership model. Anyone can copy and paste your JPG of a smoking chimp on Twitter or Instagram, so who can say if it’s really yours? The NFT could, however, become legitimate digital assets (at least on those platforms) if companies enforce ownership rights indicated by the NFT.
With NFTs, Meta may also be able to become more influential in what the company has dubbed the metaverse – a concept of interconnected virtual worlds, similar to the promises made about VR universes in the 1990s. As a result, NFTs could potentially gain more value and importance, and control over assets could be centralized.