One of the most significant events in the crypto market at the beginning of 2021 was the February sale of the NFT artwork "Everydays: The First 5000 Days" by American graphic designer Mike Winkelmann, also known as Beeple, which earned him $69.3 million at Christie's auction.
After that, a series of diverse events related to non-fungible tokens began, with "crazy money" flowing into the NFT segment, amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars per token.
Today, the entire market, including the NFT segment, is in a state of stagnation. However, this does not hinder social media platforms from implementing new projects in this sphere.
Who was the first?
It is generally believed that Twitter was the first in the race to adopt Web3.0 technologies. In September 2021, Twitter announced its NFT ownership verification system, and on January 20, 2022, the social network announced that users with an active Twitter Blue subscription and iOS devices could set NFTs as their profile pictures. These images visually stand out from regular avatars and are enclosed in hexagonal frames.
Twitter Blue is only available in the United States, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia and costs subscribers $2.99 per month.
To set an NFT as an avatar, users need to connect their crypto wallets to the platform and choose a suitable image from the NFT gallery. Currently, the following crypto wallets can be connected to Twitter: Argent, Coinbase Wallet, Ledger Live, MetaMask, Rainbow, and Trust Wallet.
NFT support is limited; currently, only static images in JPEG or PNG format, linked to the ERC-721 and ERC-1155 NFT standards on the Ethereum blockchain, are allowed.
Despite many questions about the current implementation, the initiative itself stands out as one of the most prominent steps among social platforms in response to the NFT trend.
Following Twitter's announcement, there was information that Reddit had also started testing NFT avatars on its platform. Users gained the ability to purchase avatars with non-fungible tokens and set them as their profile pictures.
Reddit also launched its own NFT marketplace, which allows users to buy profile images based on the blockchain at a fixed price.
Interestingly, the platform decided to avoid publicly naming them as NFTs and instead sold them as "collectible avatars" and "digital collectibles" for fiat money. They were sold through Reddit's internal builder, and the process of creating the Reddit Vault crypto wallet was made so simple that many users had no idea they were creating a wallet for the Polygon blockchain or that they were actually buying NFTs.
Despite all this, the purchased "collectible avatars" are still NFTs on the Polygon blockchain and fully compatible with marketplaces like OpenSea.
During the testing period, Reddit will release tens of thousands of NFTs. Reddit aims to create a community where people can buy, sell, promote, and learn more about NFTs, share their work, and earn from it.
However, this is not Reddit's first attempt to use NFT avatars. The platform has been testing NFTs as profile images since mid-2021. On June 24, 2021, Reddit released a limited collection called CryptoSnoos, featuring the platform's mascot, Snoo.
During that time, around 30 artists created approximately 40,000 unique NFT avatars for Reddit, which were sold through a mobile application at prices ranging from $9.99 to $99.99. Buyers received a license to use these images as avatars on Reddit and beyond.
Reddit has an audience of approximately 430 million users worldwide, and since the beginning of the second wave of NFT expansion, 2.5 million Reddit Vault wallets have been created.
Following Twitter's announcements, several other social media platforms have declared their plans to integrate NFTs into their services in one form or another.
In December 2021, Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri stated that his company was actively exploring NFT technology and planned to make tokens "more accessible to a wider audience." In January 2022, the Financial Times reported Meta's plans to integrate non-fungible tokens into Facebook and Instagram as part of the developing metaverse.
Also in December 2021, YouTube's Director of Product, Neal Mohan, announced that the platform was seriously considering the use of blockchain with NFT tokens and the concept of the metaverse.
In February 2022, the social service OnlyFans added support for NFTs, with an audience of over 180 million users as of 2021.
Despite the fact that using NFT functionality as "collectible avatars" is not the most useful action for society, popularizing it among such a massive audience of social media will contribute to a deeper acceptance of cryptocurrencies in the global community.
Today, the NFT market is going through tough times: digital images that collectors were buying for millions of dollars just a year ago have significantly lost value. However, most analysts agree that this is a necessary stage of "maturing" for any market.
The rapid growth and equally rapid decline in prices for most NFTs have shown that scarcity is not as important as hype. Any new technology eventually goes through a stage of a "financial bubble," after which the "deflated" market cleanses itself of all unnecessary elements.
Interestingly, corporations are currently racing to control the future world, which will be closely tied to the latest technologies. This is good news for any crypto investor, as the market will continue to develop due to the growing audience, which is expanding thanks to the integration of NFTs into social media.
It is quite likely that digital assets will become an important part of the economy in the future, which is why major corporations are seizing the opportunity to shape the "new world." Private investors can also participate in this success if they choose the right objects for investment. It is important to focus not only on specific non-fungible tokens but also on platforms that enable their infrastructure—NFT marketplaces, native tokens of blockchains with large NFT communities, and so on.