In recent months, more and more social networks have taken an interest in NFTs and are looking for ways to integrate them. On top: Meta (Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp), Twitter. Is it related? What is the feeling of the first interested parties?
For Meta, this could take the form of a marketplace to buy and sell NFTs and virtual items for use in their metaverse. As for Twitter, since January it has been possible to link your crypto wallet to place the NFT in your profile picture, giving it a hexagonal shape that allows the user to distinguish themselves from others.
The crypto community’s reception of these proposals is somewhat mixed, especially depending on which platform we’re talking about. The Twitter ad was very well received: “It is the No. 1 social network in the metaverse community and the NFT, historically because it is the network of computer scientistsPodcast host John Karp explains NFT morning and organizer of the Non Fungible Conference. Additionally, Twitter’s approach is to embrace this movement by verifying people’s NFTs and acknowledging the integrity of the NFTs regardless of their source, thus acknowledging their decentralized approach. » What appears to be just a simple profile picture is seen by the crypto community as a clear and public endorsement that respects its values.
However, NFTs are now so divisive on social networks, that NFT opponents will boycott artists and brands or even create a plugin that will automatically ban any Twitter user who has an NFT as a profile picture. Appearing as a supporter of NFT may be a risky decision for social media, but John Karp isn’t worried: “It’s part of a new movement, Web 3, and it will eventually be a reality. It’s like in the early days of the Internet, where people didn’t care and thought it was useless. In the end, the Internet is everywhere and we no longer ask questions. The same thing will happen.” Thus, it is not about immediate dangers on social networks: they are working on it several years earlier for fear of missing an opportunity and falling behind their competitors.
Therefore, Meta has also embarked on the NFT adventure, with the exception that the crypto community is poorly aware of it, where it is crucial to remain anonymous and control its data. According to John Karp, “This desire to position itself in the realm of NFTs and cryptocurrencies is a little scary, because the metaverse that Facebook is selling is not quite the opposite of what the utopians who created this movement aspire to.”. The crypto community is already attached to a certain value that goes against what Meta wants to do: decentralize.
Social networks against the decentralization movement, clash or coexistence?
One of the main elements of decentralization is interoperability, i.e. creating portals for easy exchange between different systems such as the blockchain or metaverses. “Today, both Sandbox and Decentraland metavers are competing players who, at the same time, are doing their best to ensure that there is interoperability between their systems, John Karp says. It’s a very open approach, and sticks to that of NFTs. »
If the Meta values are inconsistent with the values of the crypto community, why enter the NFT? In fact, only 3.5% of the French have NFTs at this time. “The projection is five or ten years, and by that time, with the metaverse, it will never be a suitable place. It will be for mass use.” Meta is already betting on the metaverse already investing $10 billion in this type of platform. “The logic of Meta is that the interaction we have today on Facebook or on Instagram tomorrow will be in more sophisticated environments, in the metaverse.”
In the face of giants like Meta, the crypto community does not yet know its future: will coexistence be possible? “It is very difficult to predict how it will unfold, John Karp thought. We can hope that new generations, who better understand the challenges of the web, will be sensitive to the arguments for decentralization. There is already some form of battle looming. Facebook could also choose to change its business model, but this seems unlikely to me, it would call into question everything. »
The decentralization movement could remain a minority trend against Gafam, but John Karp believes that its values can align with those of new generations by redefining the relationship between users and online brands: instead of seeing their data collected for resale to advertisers, the opportunity will be presented. For users to monetize the time they spend on the platform or with a brand. When we talk about this search for meaning and new ways of working between new generations, it is part of this movement. »