Meta Platforms, formerly Facebook, has announced it wants to up the ante by integrating NFT functionality with its Instagram platform.
With every passing day, it looks like the company is scrambling to chase anything to boost brand appeal — a mid-life crisis, if you will.
The company launched a few initiatives already, such as ‘Creator Week’ — coined a “private event for NFT creators” and influencers on the platform. Zuckerberg has also made it apparent he wants users to ‘mint’ NFT clothing in the future, making it movable throughout different metaverses, not just the company’s own one. ‘Minting’, for those unaware, is the process of tokenizing an asset on the blockchain, as a guarantee of its authenticity.
It’s not the only one aiming to capture market share either. Twitter Founder and Block CEO Jack Dorsey, who is known to be partial to Bitcoin, has made his grand plans for web 3.0 apparent. Even Google’s YouTube has the shared ambition to integrate NFTs down the line.
It’s a significant opportunity, to say the least. NFTs transacted in 2021 reached a monumental $41 billion worth of purchases. Most notable was the rise of digital art — the Bored Ape Yacht Club and CryptoPunks collections are currently valued in and around $3.6 billion.
While hype may have died off a little since the start of the year, it’s still highly likely NFTs will have some sort of relevance in the future once early adopters of the industry have worked out the kinks to develop more real world use cases.
Unfortunately for Meta and others, however, OpenSea has become the leading NFT marketplace with an estimated 56% share of total transactions, so it’s facing stiff competition if it plans to grab a slice of the pie.
Gone are the days when Meta could just buy out any company from underneath it to suppress the competition. Snapchat’s Evan Spiegel said no to its paltry $3 billion offer back in 2013 and went on to become a $50 billion business. Others now know better than to accept these cheques early on.
TikTok, for example, claimed the achievement of becoming the most visited site in the world in 2021, surpassing even Google Search and YouTube. It’s been made apparent Meta’s competing service, Instagram Reels, isn’t performing quite as well as expected either, both in terms of ad revenue, and engagement. The company has even gone as far as to join TikTok themselves with both a branded Facebook and Instagram Reels account now. The ‘if you can’t beat em’ join em” approach.
When it comes to the future of Meta Platforms, I’m not seeing the concrete mission and vision you’d come to expect from one of the world’s most successful CEOs. Not to bash Zuckerberg more than necessary, but Meta appears to be faltering, entering limbo, curious, yet confused. Litigation has become synonymous with the brand and its copy-cat approach to its model appears to have been worn out. Those exact feelings are now being shared with investors. Combine that with declining users and well, there’s a reason why the stock has cratered.
Would I be surprised to see Mark Zuckerberg make a comeback? No. As easy as it is to pick at problems with Meta, the man at the helm is one of the greatest entrepreneurs of the 20th century, and the company still, is a cash-generating machine. But what I do understand is investor concerns in relation to its future viability, and we’ll need more evidence before confidence is restored in that manner.