“Instagram has helped build careers for so many creatives, including myself, and now our communities can support us further ... NFTs have opened the doors to new opportunities for me and other artists around the world. This new technology provides us with another outlet to make a living and to connect with our fans and collectors.” @misshattan
Instagram’s parent company Meta announced during its Creator Week 2022 event in LA, that creators will soon be able to make NFTs and sell them via Insta’s platform. The interoperability of NFT tech will also allow creators to sell their digital collectibles on other NFT platforms such as OpenSea.
“[Creators will] have an end-to-end toolkit — from creation (starting on the Polygon blockchain) and showcasing, to selling. People can easily support their favorite creators by buying their digital collectibles directly within Instagram. We’re testing these new features with a small group of creators in the US first, and hope to expand to more countries soon.” (Instagram press release)
These features will be initially available to creators based in the United States, with no fees until 2024. Initially, even the gas fees (blockchain transaction costs) will be covered by Instagram, though fees for minting NFTs on the Polygon chain are negligible (~1 cent).
However, due to the use of fiat-only limitations for purchases on the Google and Apple stores, commissions such as Apple’s hefty 30% fee will apply to NFT transactions. No wonder Web2 has a bad rep.
“In the age of interconnected creative communities, the name of the game is incentive alignment. If the things that benefit my audience also benefit me, we are able to create a social symbiosis … When someone owns a digital asset that I created, the value of that asset is tied to my own creative success. Thus, our incentives are aligned at a deep level — we share a common goal, and that creates a healthier connection between the community and the creator … Digital collectibles allow me to create niche communities within my larger community, micro-economies that help to fund and power my creative craft. The more support I get, the further I can push my ideas. And the further I push them, the more support I get. It’s a virtuous cycle … this next step is a clear continuation of that decentralization of access and engagement with our audiences” (Dave Krugman, selected artist for Instagram’s NFT Marketplace)
Users can already display NFTs they own on the Ethereum, Polygon and Flow blockchains, but will soon also be able to show off their Solana-based NFTs. This appears to be a clear sign that Instagram is adopting a multi-chain approach. Support for video NFTs was also announced.
This latest adoption of Web3 by a Web2 giant will no doubt accelerate the growing trend towards the user-generated content (UGC) and creator economy. Combined with newly announced audience tools for creators, the creator economy is heating up.
“Creators on Instagram having the opportunity to engage with fans and monetize through Polygon-powered digital collectables is a watershed moment for both the creator economy and web3. Accessibility is still one of the biggest hurdles to onboarding new users to Web3 and making this process easier, faster, cheaper, and more approachable will have an immense impact” (Ryan Watt, CEO Polygon Studios)
Makersplace, an NFT marketplace that aims to offer collectors a place to “discover, collect and invest in truly rare and authentic digital artworks” has partnered with African crypto artist Osinachi for the digital art accelerator program “Africa Here”.
The program aims to support African-born digital artists developing their careers on the continent and received over 100 applications for its inaugural program. Six program winners were selected by Osinachi who will have their works showcased on the platform, as well as at the SCOPE art fair as part of Art Week Miami.
Each applicant will be on-boarded onto the Makersplace platform via a free minting pass, with both program winners and honorable mentions receiving support from the Africa Here program. The NFT drop will happen on Makersplace starting November 7, coinciding with the opening of the Art X Lagos international art fair.
SCOPE bills itself as an art fair that “crosses the boundaries of elitist art and popular culture” that has “demystified elitism”.
“SCOPE has garnered extensive critical acclaim with cumulative sales of billions and attendance of millions. We are the leader in experiential storytelling … making art and technology accessible while standing as a critical contributor to both global and local brand engagement through monumental art activations” (Scope)
Art Week Miami is an annual event made up of “20 international art fairs, more than 1,200 galleries” and typically hosts an audience of around 20,000 every December since its inception in 2017.
“Miami Art Week's Mission is to promote & support emerging & established artists, galleries, arts organizations & appreciation of the arts, on an international stage. Art fairs focus on exhibiting and selling artwork. Our goal is to provide more opportunities for artwork to be seen, appreciated and sold. Simple as that.” (Miami Art Week)
Program winners and their winning submissions:
An example of Osinachi’s work:
“In a world where fake diplomas are problematic, it is commendable that NUM, Mongolia's oldest & most prestigious university, along with the Ministry of Education & Science (MOES) are connecting diplomas with blockchain.” (Polygon via Twitter)
The National University of Mongolia (NUM) has surprised the Web3 world by announcing a virtual NUM headquarters that will be accessible via NFT ownership as part of its 80th anniversary celebrations. The university currently has over 20,000 students including 381 foreign students.
These students will be able to receive their diplomas as soul-bound NFTs, which means that they will be non-transferable and non-financialized digital tokens. Such soul-bound tokens had previously been suggested by Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin as a way to establish on-chain reputation and provenance - for example for academic credentials.
“ … non-transferable “soulbound” tokens (SBTs) representing the commitments, credentials, and affiliations of “Souls” can encode the trust networks of the real economy to establish provenance and reputation … We call this richer, pluralistic ecosystem “Decentralized Society” (DeSoc)” (Vitalik Buterin, Puja Ohlhaver, E. Glen Weyl, Research Paper “Decentralized Society: Finding Web3's Soul”)
The move is in partnership with eco-friendly proof-of-stake blockchain Polygon, supported by Mongolian Web3 services Octagon for the NFTs and Guyuk for the “Meta University” virtual campus.
They plan to distribute 30,000 NFTs that will act as access passes to the university’s metaverse services and allow students, teachers and staff to receive their credentials as soul-bound NFTs. The design of the NFTs is rather ‘contemporary’ with eagle-like avatar aesthetics.
Other top universities in Mongolia will also follow suit in an interesting real-world use-case in the educational sector for non-fungible technology and specifically soul-bound tokens.