Mar 14, 2023

Meta Scraps NFT Support, Focuses on Monetizing Reels

Tech giant Meta has announced it is discontinuing its nonfungible token (NFT) features on its social media platforms, Facebook and Instagram, around 10 months after they first launched.

Stephane Kasriel, Meta’s head of commerce and financial technologies, tweeted the news on March 13, stating that Meta is “streamlining” its NFT support to “focus on other ways to support creators, people, and businesses.”

Kasriel added that Meta will prioritize tools such as building payment rails on its platform and through its messaging apps, along with monetizing Reels, the short-form videos that feature on Facebook and Instagram. He also mentioned a focus on Meta Pay, the firm’s payment platform, which in the future could support cryptocurrency according to trademark filings from May.

NFTs on the platforms were relatively short-lived, as testing began in May with select creators on Instagram before expanding to Facebook in June. The NFT features then expanded again in August as Instagram made NFT tools available to over 100 countries. In November last year, Meta launched an “end-to-end toolkit” for minting and trading NFTs within Instagram.

The announcement received a mixed response from the crypto community, with NFT artist Dave Krugman tweeting it was “a short-sighted move” and that Meta “quit before [it] even started.” Podcaster Marc Colcer said the move “seems short-sighted for a company that’s supposed to be thinking long term” and asked for transparency on Meta’s decision to scrap NFT support. Allen Hena, the co-founder of Web3 firm Earth Labs, was more severe with his feedback, saying that Meta scrapped the idea as it “realized that using public crypto networks means you can’t exploit creators.”

Meta’s decision to discontinue its NFT tools aligns with other cost-cutting measures across the company as it directs focus to its expensive metaverse ambitions. Last year alone, its metaverse-building division Reality Labs recorded its largest-ever yearly losses at $13.7 billion. Meta also undertook in November the first mass layoff in the company’s history, cutting 13% of its workforce, some 11,000 staff.

Despite the discontinuation of NFT features, Meta is still committed to providing ways for users to “connect with their fans and monetize” and is exploring NFT promotion and marketing strategies such as Twitter NFT marketing, NFT marketing agencies, and Web3 agencies. Additionally, Meta is looking into ways to make it easier to sell NFTs on its platform.

Ultimately, Meta’s decision to discontinue its NFT features is a strategic move to focus on other tools and services that will benefit creators, people, and businesses in the long-term. With its focus on Meta Pay, the firm could make cryptocurrency a viable payment option in the near future, and its commitment to exploring NFT promotion and marketing strategies could give creators and businesses more opportunities to monetize their work.

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