Meta ends its NFT push, in the latest example of bad trend timing (metaverse included)

Thursday, March 16, 2023 by Snacks
Unfortunate timing (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Unfortunate timing (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Blinked and missed it… This week Meta quietly announced an end to its nonfungible-token platform (#sadtrombone). The exit followed grand ambitions: Meta launched NFTs on Facebook and Instagram last year in 100 countries, targeting adoption among its billions of users. It reportedly considered monetizing NFTs and said creators could mint tokens on polygon and sell them to fans. Now Meta's looking to lean down as it focuses on “efficiency”:

  • Pink-slipped: On Tuesday, CEO Zuck said he planned to lay off 10K more employees after slashing 11K in November.
  • Meta-hearse: Meta's Reality Labs division, which houses its metaverse projects, lost nearly $14B last year and is expected to lose $16B this year.

Nonfungible growin’… Meta may be ditching NFTs, but they're having a low-key moment. Though NFT trading volume has plunged from early 2022 highs, it jumped nearly 40% to $946M from December to January and hit $2B last month. Brands have found an NFT audience by tying tokens to pop-culture faves (like: HBO's "Game of Thrones" collectables and Starbucks "journey stamps"). Amazon reportedly plans to launch a fashion-focused NFT marketplace next month. Meanwhile, ordinals birthed a new NFT market on the bitcoin blockchain.


Timing is everything… Meta announced its NFT push right as the algo stablecoin TerraUSD collapsed — kicking off crypto winter — and is now walking away as NFTs could be regaining relevance. It's not the first time Meta's missed the trend boat: its metaverse transformation kicked off as spenders shifted to prioritizing IRL experiences, while recession fears made big bets like the metaverse even riskier investments. Recently, Meta announced its ChatGPT rival. Brands that miss trend timelines risk becoming leading indicators of trend death.

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