Meta winds down support for NFTs on Instagram and Facebook

Looks like Meta is NGMI, as some might put it.

Meta's head of commerce and financial technologies Stephane Kasriel posted on Twitter that the company will sunset its NFT and digital collectibles features on Instagram and Facebook.

This short-lived product only began testing with select Instagram creators last May, plus some Facebook users in June. By July, Meta expanded NFT support on Instagram for creators in 100 countries. Less than a year later, Meta is moving on from NFTs.

"We're winding down digital collectibles (NFTs) for now to focus on other ways to support creators, people, and businesses," Kasriel wrote in a Twitter thread.

A Meta spokesperson told TechCrunch that it is shifting its investments away from NFTs toward products like Meta Pay, as well as features that enable creators to earn money directly on Meta platforms, like its tipping feature called gifts. The company also said it is testing ways for creators to earn ad revenue on Reels.

"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, such as messaging and monetization opps for Reels," Kasriel wrote.

Meta has been cutting costs across the company as it scrambles to make its metaverse dreams a (virtual) reality. Reality Labs, the division of Meta that works on AR and VR products, lost $13.7 billion last year. In November, Meta laid off 11,000 employees, or about 13% of its global workforce, marking the largest cuts in company history. And as Meta weathers this storm, the hype around NFTs has died down significantly. At the time, Meta's interest in NFTs seemed like it could intersect with its plans for a virtual reality metaverse -- CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said that he hoped users would one day be able to mint virtual clothing as NFTs, for example.

Meta told TechCrunch that the company will continue keeping an eye on crypto for the long term.