February 8, 2023

Basic Takeaways

  • Meta’s Instagram is launching an NFT feature in 100 countries across Africa, Asia Pacific, the Middle East and the Americas.
  • The feature will initially support Ethereum, Polygon and Flow NFTs.
  • Meta has increasingly embraced Metaverse and Web3 since it was rebranded by Facebook in October 2021.

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The social media giant will also add support for a variety of Web3 wallets.

Meta for NFT support

Despite widespread skepticism about NFTs, Meta is doubling down on the technology.

The largest social media company in the world was announced Thursday that it will expand the digital collectibles feature it recently piloted on Instagram to 100 countries in Africa, Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and the Americas.

According to the announcement, the new feature will allow Instagram users to share any NFTs they own by connecting their digital wallets to the app. The extension initially supports Ethereum, Polygon, and Flow NFT, and Instagram plans to allow users to connect to Rainbow, MetaMask, Trust Wallet, Coinbase Wallet, and Dapper Wallet. The feature will have no associated fees.

Meta, the social media giant formerly known as Facebook, showed early signs that it was ready to embrace Web3 last October when it was renamed in a push to help the Metaverse grow. The company has sunk $10 billion into its Metaverse arm, Reality Labs, and hired 1,000 people since then, but its Web3 plans have been mostly kept under wraps. The company’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg previously discussed plans to support NFTs, and in May the company launched an rollout for select creators in the United States. Mark Zuckerberg said of the update at the time:

“We don’t just build technology. We’re also trying to help foster that ecosystem, because at the end of the day, we’re not going to create most of the content – ​​by chance. The vast majority of it will be created by creators in the ecosystem. And so I think a big part of what we need to do is really approach all the different ways creators could make money.”

The blog post did not confirm if Meta plans to launch the feature in Europe, nor if it plans to support NFTs on other blockchains like Solana.

Meta is one of several major tech players showing interest in NFTs as the technology has developed, following the likes of Twitter and Reddit. However, although many companies want to support the technology, NFTs have proven divisive as many skeptics have criticized the speculative nature of the market and the environmental impact of Proof-of-Work blockchains like Ethereum, where most NFTs are created today. Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin has also criticized Meta’s push to build the Metaverse, although his criticism was directed at the loosely defined concept of the Metaverse itself. He said last week that while he believed Metaverse would grow, companies like Meta would “fail” to build it if there wasn’t a clear understanding of what people wanted to use it for.

Disclosure: At the time of writing, the author of this piece owned ETH and several other cryptocurrencies.

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