Instagram Starts Testing NFTs as Sales of the Digital Collectibles Are Plummeting

Stellar timing, Zuck

A person holding an iPhone with the Instagram logo.
Interest in the digital collectibles is also crashing.

Speaking at SXSW this past March, Mark Zuckerberg announced non-fungible tokens (NFTs) would be coming to Instagram in the “near term.” Well, the near term is now-ish. This week, the social media platform that was once a simple photo-sharing app is beginning to test how the digital collectibles will function, allowing select creators to post or share or whatever the hell you’re supposed to do with an NFT on the app.

Instagram head Adam Mosseri announced on Monday that there will be no fees associated with posting or sharing an NFT a user has created or bought. He also clarified why Instagram was bringing the digital collectibles to its platform.

“We do think that one of the unique opportunities we have is to make web3 technology accessible to a much broader range of people. And NFTs specifically we think will be interesting not only to creators who create NFT art but also to people who want to collect it.”

Instagram isn’t the first social media app to introduce NFTs to its platform. In January, NFTs and weird-ass pictures of apes began flooding Twitter feeds along with annoying tweets from celebrities pushing their own digital collectibles. I imagine a similar fate awaits Instagram, one that I, personally, am less than stoked about. But the news of Instagram’s venture into the world of non-fungible tokens comes at a particularly inopportune time.

Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported that NFT sales are crashing…hard.

Sales of the digital collectibles fell 92% last week according to the data website NonFungible for a daily average of around 19,000, down from its 225,000 peak in September.

There are a few reasons for the current NFT plummet. As WSJ explains, current rising inflation rates have impeded riskier bets across all financial markets, NFT owners are learning their crypto investments aren’t exactly paying off and there is simply too much supply and not enough demand for the digital collectibles.

“There are about five NFTs for every buyer, according to data from analytics firm Chainalysis,” reported WSJ. “As of the end of April, there have been 9.2 million NFTs sold, which were bought by 1.8 million people, the firm said.”

Unsurprisingly, interest in NFTs has declined — probably because most of us need to spend our real money on bills and physical, tangible items like groceries. Who knows if this news will impact Meta’s plans of turning Instagram into an NFT marketplace. Judging by the way the company handles user backlash to new features, we’ll likely be stuck with the monkeys.

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