Do you know how it’s very disturbing when someone overpromises and underdelivers? How about when someone doesn’t even deliver? Well, here is Mark Zuckerberg “shocking” us that he decided to drop NFTs. Effective immediately, Meta ends NFT support on Facebook and Instagram. But what the hell, right? Meta didn’t even last a year supporting their web3 endeavor. This announcement comes after Silicon Valley and Signature Bank collapsed and set back its crypto investors. Coincidence?
Trouble in Meta Paradise?
Did Meta bite more than it can chew?
What about the metaverse, will Mark “shock” us and drop it too?
Let’s dive right into it!
Meta Ends NFT Support
On March 13, 2023, Stephane Kasriel, Meta’s Head of Commerce and Financial Services, gave us the Meta ending NFT support news in a Twitter thread. (Points on choosing the right medium though).
Some product news: 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. 🧵[1/5]
— Stephane Kasriel (@skasriel) March 13, 2023
Let’s recap the whole Meta NFT timeline:
May 2022 → Meta began testing its Digital Collectibles feature, allowing select platform users to display their NFTs.
September 2022 → The company opened up support for the NFT on the Instagram feature.
November → a small group of U.S. creators could mint and sell NFTs on the Polygon blockchain directly from its platforms.
March 2023 → Meta ends NFT support on Instagram and Facebook.
Would’ve been more poetic if they ended their fun little web3 experiment in May if you ask me. But maybe 10 months make more sense? Anyway, jokes aside Meta is way in over its head and this news is kinda bad for its reputation.
While their Instagram marketplace feature gained some traction, it obviously wasn’t that big of a hit. (Didn’t bring in enough CASH $$$).
In meta’s defense, Kasriel claims that Meta is just “winding down NFTs for now”. So, they just want to “focus on other ways to support creators, people, and businesses”. Leaving the door open for picking up NFTs again.
Why is Meta Abandoning NFTs?
There are valid reasons for Meta to end NFT support so abruptly. It all goes back to Zuckerberg’s ambition in 2022 to build the first metaverse – like that’s a thing. According to its annual financial report for the last year, the company lost as much as $14 billion for the metaverse alone. Consequently, Meta had to cut its costs and cut down on its global staff by 13% putting 11,000 employees out of their job! Here’s a rundown of all the reasons why Meta may have “wind down” (given up) on NFTs:
- The lay-off of 11,000 employees led to the closedown of departments and projects – obviously, NFTs weren’t worth the trouble anymore.
- The Wall Street Journal reported that Meta is planning multiple rounds of layoffs in the coming months.
- The NFT market and the wider cryptocurrency market are far different than they were a year ago. Especially after the market crash and Sam Birkman Fried’s malicious acts.
- With the abundance of scams, rug pulls and failed projects NFTs have lost favor in the eyes of the market – and the general public hate them even more.
- The recent shuttering of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank after a bank run has likely also spooked investors and businesses.
How Will Meta Help Creators?
Meta ends NFT support and is officially moving on from all their crypto projects. Even though NFTs were pitched as part of its ‘metaverse’ future. Will they give up on the metaverse next? To be fair, no updates about their metaverse are known yet.
So if they’re ditching NFTs to cut back on losses, what are they gonna “refocus” on? According to Kasriel’s Tweet, Meta will use its resources to refocus and create better opportunities for creators and businesses. So they will focus on areas that make an impact on a bigger scale. Here are the promises for Meta’s future:
- Messaging and monetization for Reels.
- Fintech tools that people and businesses will need in the future.
- Payments with Meta Pay, making checkout & payouts easier.
- messaging payments across Meta.
Reactions to Meta’s Announcement
Even though my reaction is not so subtly embedded between the lines of this news, many voiced their reactions louder about this whole Meta ends NFT support thing. Oh, and it wasn’t so cute. Feel free to scroll through the replies on the initial thread but here are my top picks:
i didn’t see much of an effort on meta’s part to inform people on the significance of digital collectibles to disrupt current financial and creative systems. it was just like “here everyone here who already hates nfts, you can use nfts on instagram now!”
— hawkward (@hawkwardart) March 13, 2023
To be honest, I don't think anybody really cares.
Adding the ability to display NFTs on your feed is not really the point of digital collectibles.
You guys needed to figure out ways to house community and develop a creator economy, but the point was missed entirely.
— wab.eth (@wabdoteth) March 13, 2023
This is what happens when @Meta puts together a team that knows nothing about NFTs and then tries to incorporate NFTs into their platform. Dead on arrival.
— Marc C00lcer (33.3%) (@marccolcer) March 13, 2023
Soooo…..you weren’t able to monetize NFTs for your own gain and weren’t happy with putting the power and profits back in the hands of creators and collectors so you’re focusing your efforts elsewhere. Great job as always lol.
— Noah Addis (@NoahAddis) March 14, 2023
Huge miss! 😢
Artists that make NFTs are in fact “creators and people” and their projects are “businesses…” 🎨
Web3, NFTs, and blockchain technology can only be a positive for your platform if built correctly and thoughtfully. 📱
— MC_MA (@NFT_MC_MA) March 13, 2023
Obviously a wrong decision. But of course Meta has not been an innovator on the market for a long time, so it is not surprising.
— Mint Guns (@mintguns_us) March 13, 2023
Your company is literally called Meta and yet you're getting rid of digital intellectual property. Amazing.
— Zach Doehler 🎨 (@Calibreus_) March 14, 2023
Is This The End For NFTs?
Let’s get one thing out loud and clear: Just because Meta is ending NFT support doesn’t mean NFTs are dying. It was not a surprise anyway, because Meta pushed the first domino with the shutdowns of the Meta-backed cryptocurrency Diem and Meta’s Novi digital wallet last year.
The pressure is seriously on though, for them to deliver on this Metaverse that might be Meta’s demise! In 2022, Meta was officially the worst-performing company on the S&P 500 index. However, Zuckerberg claims that he’s got a rescue plan announcing 2023 as “the year of efficiency”, which is why he cut down on employees, departments, and major projects. In an alternate reality, NFTs are a casualty of Meta’s internal war.
As Meta jogs away from NFTs, many web2 companies run toward web3 and do so successfully! Reddit witnessed major success in their Reddit Digital Collectibles and recent Superbowl edition. Starbucks is skyrocketing with its Odyssey program and its Siren NFT collection just sold out in 20 Minutes. There are NFT projects innovating the space such as Shibuya being the first web3 video streaming platform (like Netflix) and Valhalla aiming to become the Twitch of web3. Meta is not much of a trendsetter anyway, and NFTs didn’t reach their full potential yet. Despite everything, the future of web3 is looking good.