UPDATED 11:00 EST / MAY 09 2022


Instagram will begin testing NFTs this week for a handful of users

The photo and video sharing social media platform Instagram will begin testing nonfungible tokens this week, Meta Platforms Inc. Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg confirmed today.

The change on Meta-owned Instagram will allow users to display the digital collectibles as their profile pictures, following a move made by Twitter with its hexagon-shaped NFT profile images.

NFTs are a type of asset built using blockchain technology that provides a type of digital representation of ownership of a particular virtual asset. In this case, creators and collectors can use it to prove ownership of digital artwork, which will be linked to the user’s Instagram account and displayed in their profile.

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

Creators and collectors will be able to display their NFT images on their Instagram profiles for free, according to the upcoming test this week. Zuckerberg also said that augmented reality NFTs would soon become available via Spark AR, the company’s AR authoring platform, allowing users to place digital NFT art into physical spaces.

He also added that similar functions would be coming soon to Facebook but did not give a timeline of when it would arrive for that platform.

“I want to acknowledge upfront that NFTs and blockchain technologies are all about distributing trust and distributing power,” Instagram head Adam Mosseri wrote in a tweet. “But Instagram is fundamentally a centralized platform, so there’s a tension there. So, one of the reasons why we’re starting small is we want to make sure that we can learn from the community.”

For many people in the community, creating and collecting NFTs are a part of the cultural zeitgeist and collections and the ownership of NFTs are part of their social expression. By allowing users to showcase their NFTs in their profiles, Instagram hopes to open up another way for users to express themselves and join in this emerging culture.

At launch, the Instagram NFTs are expected to support numerous blockchains, according to a report cited by CoinDesk, including Ethereum, Polygon, Solana and Flow.

The addition of NFTs to Instagram is part of Meta’s long-term intention of building Web3, also known as the distributed web, technologies into its platform. Mosseri added that this will be a great opportunity for Meta to make Web3 accessible to a greater number of people. It will also build on Meta’s continuing work to bring NFTs into all of its social media platforms.

“NFTs specifically we think will be interesting not only to creators who create NFT art but also to people who want to collect it,” Mosseri said.

Image: Instagram

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