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Meta disables Instagram NFT features in “wind down” of digital collectibles

The company is ‘winding down’ NFT features on Instagram and Facebook just months after launching.

Meta is “winding down” its support for NFTs on Facebook and Instagram, Meta’s head of Commerce and Fintech Stephane Kasriel said in a Twitter thread on Monday. The dramatic change in direction comes less than a year after the company announced its ambitious plans to build the metaverse, reflected in the rebrand from Facebook to Meta.

The tweet stated: “Across the company, we’re looking closely at what we prioritize to increase our focus. We’re winding down digital collectibles (NFTs) for now to focus on other ways to support creators, people, and businesses.”

Kasriel stated that Meta looks forward to “supporting the many NFT creators who continue using Instagram and Facebook to amplify their work”, but gave no further information detailing the reasons behind the decision, and how Meta will continue to support NFT creators.

Meta first announced its metaverse plans in 2021 and started testing its NFT features in May 2022 with select creators. In August, the platform partnered up with Ethereum, Polygon and Flow, and by November 2022, users could sell NFTs on the platform (albeit with limited functionality).

The pull back means Meta will end its tests of minting and selling NFTs on Instagram as well as the ability to share NFTs on Instagram and Facebook, according to The Verge. This is expected to take place in the coming weeks.

Read more: 10,000 jobs axed from Meta as it shuts down NFT division

The decision is perhaps unsurprising. Despite its ambitions, Meta has struggled to assimilate into the world of Web3. In February last year, the U.S. Federal Reserved opposed the Meta-backed cryptocurrency Diem (formerly known as Libra), forcing the company behind the currency to sell its assets to Silvergate bank for $200 million.

A few months later, Novi, the digital wallet supporting Diem, requesting all users to withdraw their funds “as soon as possible” as it prepared to close.

Despite Meta’s failures in Web3, other giant brands have found surprising success over the past few weeks. Starbucks’ Odyssey NFT project sold out in 18 minutes; Reddit continues to embrace its NFT avatars, and the overall crypto market remains bullish despite recent catastrophic bank failures.

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