Instagram to Begin Testing NFTs This Week. Here's What to Expect.

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  • Instagram will allow a limited number of U.S. users to share NFTs on their feeds, stories, and in messages.
  • Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri addresses the tension between a big company like Instagram and the decentralized Web 3 universe.
  • Instagram could pave the way for many other platforms to introduce NFTs.

Is Instagram moving to the blockchain? Not quite, but it is bringing a piece of the blockchain to its Web 2.0 platform.

Instagram is currently the fourth most popular social media platform in the world, with close to 1.5 billion active users. Its surge in popularity can be credited to its creative image and video sharing capabilities, and the opportunity for users to gain exposure through hashtags and follows. But a new era of Instagram could be emerging as it dips its toes into the crypto world. This week, Instagram head Adam Mosseri announced that the platform will begin to allow a limited number of creators in the U.S. to share NFTs on their feeds, stories, and in messages. Yes, the rumors are true after all. But what exactly will this look like?

This is a test run

Mosseri makes it clear that this is only a test -- hence the small number of users who will be allowed to use this feature. The goal is to get feedback from the community and learn how to best assimilate the buying and selling of these digital collectibles into the realm of a social media platform. Mosseri said in his announcement video, “We want to make sure that we work out how to embrace those tenets of distributed trust and power, despite the fact that we are, yes, a centralized platform.”

How will it work?

Any digital collectible shared will be displayed like a tagged photo or profile that will take you to details on the creator and the artwork when clicked on. There will be no fees associated with posting or sharing a digital collectible, as Mosseri noted on his Twitter post. Ethereum and Polygon blockchains are the first to be supported, with Solana and Flow said to follow soon.

Looking forward

Although they are not the first platform to experiment with NFTs, Instagram has the greatest reach of any so far. The platform’s popularity and broad spectrum of users means that Web 3 technologies will potentially be reaching a brand-new breed of consumer. And with its Meta counterpart Facebook expected to join with similar functionality in the near future, there is a potential for great influence in the social media arena. However, NFTs have plummeted by 92% since last year, so the number of users interested in this feature may be less than expected. It remains to be seen if Mossier, Zuckerberg, and Musk can turn things around and reignite the NFT craze.

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