Just when you thought the NFT hype was dying down, Meta’s looking to stoke the embers once again, with the introduction of new NFT display options on Facebook.
As you can see in these screenshots, posted by Meta product manager Navdeep Singh, Facebook users will now be able to create custom NFT posts, with a ‘Digital Collectible’ tag, while profiles will also have a new, dedicated NFT section to show off your non-fungible artworks.
As with Instagram, which launched the first stage of its NFT support program back in May, when users tap through on these images, they’ll be able to see who owns the artwork, and who created it, along with a brief description of the piece.
The information is sourced via the NFT detail listed on the public blockchain, with Facebook set to provide support for Ethereum, Polygon, and all the major exchanges, and NFT owners able to connect their Rainbow, Trust Wallet and MetaMask accounts to verify NFT ownership.
That is, of course, if all of those exchanges and tools are still in operation.
NFTs, as with all crypto-aligned projects, are suffering a major downturn at the moment, which is largely reflective of broader economic trends, but has hit speculative financial products the hardest.
As you can see in this Google Trends chart, consumer interest in NFTs is waning, while The Wall Street Journal recently reported that there’s been a 92% decline in NFT sales since September last year.
Trust in NFTs as an investment opportunity has also been impacted by a range of rug pulls, scams and exploits, which have seen many early investors lose thousands, even millions in some cases.
The core idea – that digital items will become a much bigger thing in the metaverse future – has merit, and there’s no doubt that, eventually, people will be buying more digital items that don’t exist in real life, in order to showcase status and personality in the virtual realm. But profile pictures of monkeys? Maybe not.
Either way, Meta sees NFTs as a stepping stone, and another foundational element in its metaverse shift, which is why it’s keen to push ahead with its NFT projects, regardless of the general public status.
Which is why Meta is also experimenting with an NFT marketplace, that would facilitate the sale of virtual items in its apps.
That’s where it sees real value and utility, providing direct connection between its current platforms and the metaverse, with users then able to buy and display their virtual items, which could then lead others through to its next-level digital experiences.
Indeed, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has talked up the potential of NFTs, and the expanded role that digital goods will play in the coming Metaverse shift. In this sense, it’s less about what NFTs are right now, and more about what they represent, and it’ll be interesting to see how users might eventually look to showcase their digital items on their Facebook and Instagram profiles.
But it’s not available to all users just yet. Meta says that it’s conducting a ‘slow rollout’ of its Facebook NFT tools, starting with a ‘select group of creators in the US’, before expanding to other regions.
So you won’t be seeing an influx of badly drawn profile pictures on Facebook just yet, but you may see it ramp up over time, with a range of digital items on show.