Following Twitter’s declaration earlier this year, Instagram is the next Web2 networking platform to announce that they will be implementing NFT display options into users’ feeds. Disclosed by Instagram Chief Adam Mosseri, the social media app will begin the initial testing phase of it’s long in-development NFT features, including the introduction of cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum, Solana, Flow, and Polygon, alongside allowing owners to connect their Rainbow, Trust Wallet, and MetaMask wallets to the application in order to verify NFT ownership. Creators and collectors will also be able to display their token’s on their main feeds, as well as in Instagram Stories and Direct Messages.
The news comes as hype surrounding NFTs begins to wane, with the market experiencing a 92 percent decline in NFT sales since September, according to The Wall Street Journal. But this integration of Web2 and Web3 could make the transition into the metaverse more palatable for reluctant audiences, and once again set interest in NFTs upwards.
Bridging the gap between the two virtual worlds could also herald the beginning of a wider, diversified Web3 community. But the announcement doesn’t come without its own implications. One of the biggest complexities surrounding the news is the fact that Instagram is a centralised platform, while the NFT market prides itself on being the complete opposite—something that Mosseri notes as possible “tension” during his announcement. How this will be navigated is something that will undoubtedly be scrutinised by audiences worldwide, as it seemingly undermines Web3’s foundational aspects of digital ownership and the appeal of a decentralized eco-system.
Additionally, Instagram’s move also opens up the possibilities of increased security concerns. The NFT market has already fallen victim to a multitude of safety, trademarking, and theft entanglements—over the past year particularly—so how will this new avenue for NFTs fare? One way the platform is tackling the issue is through authentication features, such as a tick box which indicates that the token is verified.
The Web2 platform’s move into the metaverse is likely to just be the start of their metaversal roadmap. Instagram’s next step could be to begin facilitating and trading NFTs via its application. With this in mind, many are left to question as to where exactly Web3’s purpose will stand if Web2 was to adopt one of the metaverse’s most integral — and unique — selling points.