The news: We looked on as Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed at a SXSW panel that NFTs will make their way to Instagram “in the near term.” He offered a glimpse of the company’s roadmap for the metaverse and NFTs over the next several years.
How it will work: Much of Zuckerberg’s vision for metaverse creators seems to center on self-expression via digital apparel and accessories. This is where the connection to Instagram becomes clearer, since the platform is so heavily populated by fashion brands and influencers that could play a role in creating virtual clothing and accessories for the metaverse.
But to really make all of this work, Zuckerberg said that interoperability is necessary to avoid inhibiting creators: “We really want to lean into that because it will be so important to the creator economy.” Still, despite the overnight hype that resulted from Facebook’s rebrand into Meta, this is a project with a much longer horizon. Asked about a realistic timeframe for a developed metaverse, Zuckerberg said maybe by the end of the decade.
The current state of NFTs: There’s little consensus on the future of NFTs and the metaverse, both within the tech community and the larger population.
Looking forward: That lack of consensus hasn’t stopped the NFT ball from rolling, especially at SXSW, where the word “metaverse” has been featured in over 40 session titles. The SXSW app also has a “SXSW x NFTs” section, where attendees can scan QR codes, buy NFT merch, and purchase NFT art.