- The short-lived collectibles project started its pilot phase last year in May.
- Meta is reportedly shifting focus to messaging payments.
Almost a year after Meta, Instagram, and Facebook’s parent company announced a push for digital collectibles on the two platforms, the company is reversing course.
The announcement was made Tuesday by Meta’s head of commerce and financial technologies, Stephane Kasriel, who noted that the step aimed to focus on other strategies the social media giant can use to support creators.
‘‘We are winding down digital collectibles (NFTs) to focus on other ways to support creators, people, and businesses,’’ Kasriel wrote on a Twitter thread. ‘‘We learned a ton that we can apply to products we continue to build to support creators, people, and businesses on our apps today and in the metaverse.
In March 2022, Mark Zuckerberg announced a plan to debut non-fungible tokens on the picture and sharing app Instagram with use cases like letting users mint the attires of their digital avatars as NFTs. Before that, the social media giant rebranded to Meta, hoping to make the dream a (virtual) reality.
A slowing NFT market pushes Meta to rethink NFTs
All that has cooled amid a slowdown in NFTs, especially following last year’s crypto winter. The new focus, according to Kasriel, is enhancing messaging payments and creating new ways for users to connect with their communities.
‘‘We are going to focus on areas where we can make an impact at scale, such as messaging and monetization opps for Reels. And we will continue investing in fintech tools that people and businesses will need for the future. We are streamlining payments w/Meta Pay, making checkout and payouts easier, and investing in messaging payments across Meta,’’ he said.
The short-lived NFT projects began testing for select Instagram creators last year in May and Facebook users the following month. As of July, the Menlo Park, California – based company increased the NFT support for creators in more than 100 countries.
Meta’s Instagram and Facebook NFTs are not the only Web3 project by the social media platform to fail. Last year, it closed pilot crypto wallet project Novi, asking users to withdraw funds. Libra, another project, also part of the Novi crypto wallet project, also shut down due to regulatory scrutiny.