Meta is reportedly expanding the launch of NFTs (non-fungible tokens) on its platform despite a slowdown in digital asset trading. On Wednesday, Meta said that creators on Instagram will be able to make and sell their own NFTs — digital assets representing art or images that cannot be replicated — directly to followers on and off the platform. Instagram already allows users to display NFTs on their pages.
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This marks the largest promotion of a social media platform in the NFT space. Competitor Reddit launched collectible avatars in July and has received an overwhelming response — nearly 3 million users currently hold the digital assets. That number exceeds the 2 million buyers on OpenSea, the largest NFT marketplace, according to blockchain analytics firm Dune.
Digital assets, derided by some as speculative assets, have already declined in value in 2022. Since the market peaked in January this year, NFT trading volume has dropped by more than 90%.
The global economic slowdown has hit Meta’s ad revenue, and with brands reining in marketing spending on their platform, Meta is struggling to find new revenue streams. Meta shares fell 25% last week after the company disclosed that third-quarter net profit fell by more than 50%.
Meta has also taken a hit from rival TikTok. TikTok’s success is partly due to its ability to attract influencers to its platform. In July, Meta fintech director Stephane Kasriel said the company’s focus on digital collectibles is part of a strategy to attract influencers and their fans to its platform.
Meta has also launched other ways to allow fans to pay influencers they follow. In the U.S., all eligible Instagram creators can launch a subscription service, where fans can pay a monthly fee in exchange for exclusive content. The feature was first announced in July of this year.
Facebook, which is owned by Meta, is also promoting its “stars” feature more broadly, a form of in-platform currency that fans can pay creators when they like their content. Meta has launched a “gift” feature on Instagram in the US, which is similar to the “star” feature, giving creators a new way to make money from followers.
Last week, Apple expanded its 30% commission on in-app purchases to NFT products. Meta said any apps sold via in-app purchases on Apple or Google devices will be charged a 30 percent platform fee. Meta has previously clashed with Apple over the so-called “Apple tax.”