Meta is stepping away from NFTs less than a year after launching them on Instagram and Facebook.
In a Monday tweet thread, the company’s head of commerce and financial technologies, Stephane Kasriel, said the company was shifting its focus.
“We learned a ton that we’ll be able to apply to products we’re continuing to build to support creators, people, and businesses on our apps, both today and in the metaverse,” Kasriel wrote.
The move comes as Meta prepares for another round of layoffs that reportedly will affect thousands of workers, after cutting 13% of its workforce in November. On the company’s fourth-quarter earnings call CEO Mark Zuckerberg dubbed 2023 the “year of efficiency” and pledged to cut projects that aren’t performing well or which are deemed not crucial.
The deprioritization of NFTs has some on social media wondering whether Meta’s multi-year and multi-billion-dollar metaverse investment may soon be scaled back.
🚨 Meta will no longer support NFTs on its platform.
With NFTs thrown off the ship… will Meta’s metaverse survive?
— Chet Long (@RealChetBLong) March 13, 2023
The company’s metaverse division, Reality Labs, lost $13.7 billion in 2022, up from the $10.2 billion it lost in 2021. Still, Zuckerberg was unwavering in his support for the investment during the company’s most recent earnings call.
Others added on Twitter that the move away from NFTs is a non-event because the company barely made an impact in the space since it launched NFT capabilities for its apps last year.
Meta and instagram saying goodbye to NFTs is like that awkward goodbye from a distant family friend at some Christmas party..
We had no idea you were even here but wish you well😅
— Mitch | MVHQ S21 (@classicmitchup) March 13, 2023
In September, the company opened up its NFT features to everyone in the U.S. after testing them with a select group of users a few months earlier. When it was announced, Meta’s dive into the NFT world was seen as a boon to smaller blockchains like Polygon and Flow.
Meta followed up in November by saying it would soon allow creators to make their own NFTs on Instagram and sell them through the platform directly to fans on those blockchains, as well as the most popular blockchain for NFTs, Ethereum.
In his tweet thread Monday, Kasriel said that the company would still support NFT creators who continue using Instagram and Facebook to amplify their work.
“Let me be clear: creating opportunities for creators and businesses to connect with their fans and monetize remains a priority, and we’re going to focus on areas where we can make impact at scale,” he said.
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