Facebook owner Meta dives into the NFT digital collectibles craze

Meta is working on plans to allow users to create and sell non-replaceable tokens as Facebook’s parent company looks to join the rush of companies trying to capitalize on the digital collecting frenzy.

Teams on Facebook and Instagram are preparing a feature that will allow users to display their NFTs on their social media profiles, and are working on a prototype to help users create – or mint – the collectible tokens, according to several people familiar with the matter .

Two of the people said Meta has also talked about launching a marketplace where users can buy and sell NFTs — essentially a digital asset that represents art or images that cannot be replicated.

All efforts are at an early stage and may change. But the discussions mark Meta’s first attempts to monetize the hype-driven world of NFTs, whose popularity soared last year and became a $40 billion global market. Critics have portrayed the freewheeling industry as a speculative bubble plagued by scams and market manipulation.

The dominant NFT marketplace OpenSea, which takes a 2.5 percent discount on every sale, has raised $300 million this month at a valuation of $13 billion — just six months after raising $100 million at a valuation of $13 billion. 1.5 billion. Major US cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase launches its own marketplace. Meta rival Twitter tests NFT show possibilities, while Reddit has launched its own collection of NFT avatars.

The move comes after Meta chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said last year that NFTs could one day be used to support a digital goods market in the planned metaverse, an avatar-filled world in which the company will spend $10 annually for the next decade. billion to build. .

Stung by scandals over moderation and privacy of late, the company has seen a decline in popularity for its major social networking products like Facebook and Instagram, in a trend that threatens its $85 billion-a-year ad-based business model.

Meta’s plans will also help artists monetize their digital art at a time when money has notably been poured into the sale of expensive limited collections of NFTs, such as CryptoPunks and Bored Ape Yacht Club. Buyers of these exclusive collections usually post their pieces as their Twitter profile pictures, as a way of signaling their status online.

Instagram head Adam Mosseri said in December that it is “actively exploring NFTs,” without sharing specific details. But Instagram is now internally testing its NFT presentation feature, said two people with knowledge of its rapidly evolving plans.

The Instagram NFTs project was initially led last year by Kristin George, Instagram’s director of product and creators, and David Marcus, the former head of Facebook’s payments and crypto arm who left the company in December, said another person. Marcus has now been replaced by Stephane Kasriel, former chief executive of freelance platform Upwork.

Facebook’s digital currency wallet Novi, which launched as a pilot in October, will likely be vital to the plans, people said. “A lot of the support functionality related to Novi will power the NFTs,” said one person with knowledge of the plans.

Meta declined to comment.

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