Last year Facebook and Instagram gave their users the ability to share the surely-still-valuable NFTs they own with the rest of the world via Meta’s platforms. This year… it’s being deemphasised in favour of 2023’s sexiest tech gold rush.
The company hasn’t put it that way, of course. Meta’s commerce and fintech head Stephane Kasriel explains that the company is “…looking closely at what we prioritize to increase our focus.”
In more practical terms, this means that Meta is “…winding down digital collectibles (NFTs) for now to focus on other ways to support creators, people, and businesses.” Instead, the company is focusing on increasing the reach and profitability of Reels, and on making Meta Pay a viable option for users to send, transfer, and receive cash on the platform.
It hasn’t been addressed but this change of direction on Meta’s main platforms will have an impact on the company’s metaverse aims. You know, the whole reason Mark Zuckerberg renamed the entire company? Non-fungible tokens (which the company referred to as ‘digital collectibles’) were supposed to play an extensive role in the virtual world concept. The fact that Meta is backing away from them for the moment suggests that virtual worlds will have to wait while everyone grapples with artificial intelligence first.
Instead of the hottest tech buzzwords of 2021 (metaverse) and 2022 (NFTs), everyone’s all about that ChatGPT in 2023. Meta isn’t immune, announcing LLaMA (which better have a WinAmp easter egg, we swear…) in February this year. The Large Language Model Meta AI has yet to be properly demoed by the company, though it leaked recently. Provided everyone’s attention span holds out that long, we might see some interesting things from the technology.