Meta-owned Instagram is set to trial functionality to enable its users to mint, showcase and sell digital collections. Powered by non-fungible tokens (NFTs), the move could give creators on the platform a new way to engage and monetise their followers.
Meta explained it will initially test a range of new features with a small group of creators in the US. If successful, it plans to expand to more users and countries soon. Instagram’s aim is to integrate a full end-to-end toolkit that can be used for the whole process.
The toolkit in question, which will utilise the Polygon blockchain, is to be used from creation to the end goal of showcasing and selling NFTs. The system will enable NFT commerce both on and off of the popular social media platform.
Sandeep Nailwal, co-founder of Polygon, gave his view on the news. He said: “This move represents a remarkable milestone in the evolution of Instagram’s existing NFT functionality and a natural next step to bring Web3 to the mainstream.”
“The value added to the creator economy is unmatchable and championing verifiable digital ownership on a platform with such reach will help us further our goal of onboarding the next billion users to Web3.”
This is not the first sign of Meta’s plans to introduce functionality pertaining to the sharing of NFTs. In May 2022, the platform enabled pre-selected creators from the US to share NFTs. The function has already expanded to over 100 countries worldwide, as of September 2022.
NFTs continuing to gain traction
After bursting into the mainstream in 2021, some of the hype surrounding the phenomenon has since died down. However, the industry has continued efforts to encourage mainstream adoption in the long term.
In July 2022, Reddit launched ‘Vaults’, an embedded digital wallet in which users can store ‘Community points’. In October, Pali Bhat, chief product officer at Reddit, explained that over three million users had used Reddit’s Vault blockchain wallet to create wallets. He revealed that of these, 2.5 million were created to purchase NFT avatars to use as profile pictures on the platform.
Polygon’s Ethereum-compatible blockchain was also used by Reddit to mint its avatars. Reddit and Meta were not alone in their decision either. Stock and cryptocurrency exchange platform Robinhood and payment processing platform Stripe also opted to use the Polygon blockchain as their entryway into the world of Web3.
According to research by BestBrokers, Q2 2022 saw record interest in NFT trading. It found that the total transactions from main marketplaces for NFTs rose 9 per cent from Q1. It also found that transactions had risen a significant 2,857 per cent from the previous year. Despite the cryptocurrency bear market, the NFT market appears to continue to grow. The market has become an alternative option for investors that originally focused on crypto.
In an effort to offset its carbon footprint, the blockchain scalability platform released a ‘green manifesto‘ in April. In this, Polygon outlined plans to become carbon negative and revealed a $20million fund to achieve various green projects. As part of this project, Polygon positioned itself as a climate-friendly startup by going completely remote.