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Facebook and Instagram are exploring NFTs now

You know the old Reese’s commercial, “You got peanut butter in my chocolate, you got chocolate in my peanut butter”? Well, Facebook parent company Meta is apparently going for a modern spin on that: “You got your disinformation-infested platform in my destructive and wasteful digital art!” That’s according to a new report from the Financial Times, which says Meta is now exploring the possibility of allowing users to create, sell, and display non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on its platforms.

Per FT, here’s what the whole thing would look like: Meta would use its Novi platform, a digital wallet for storing cryptocurrency that the company launched late last year and has been testing in WhatsApp, to support NFTs. Novi would be used to pay for and store digital art. Users would be able to display the images they own on their Instagram profiles, and a marketplace would be built to allow people to buy and sell the digital collectibles, which by the way have a shockingly large environmental impact.

FT notes that the project is in the early stages and could change, but Meta has been teasing the idea for a couple of months now. In October, shortly after Facebook tried to paint over its many atrocities and failures by changing its name to Meta and pivoting to building the virtual reality hellscape of the future, CEO Mark Zuckerberg stepped out of his avatar body long enough to say that his metaverse dreamworld would need to support “ownership of digital goods or NFTs.” Likewise, head of Instagram Adam Mosseri said last month that his company was “actively exploring NFTs and how we can make them more accessible to a wider audience.” It’s a classic case of asking if you could rather than if you should, and surely the results will be every bit as exhausting and disastrous as you can imagine.

If you’re unfamiliar with NFTs, here’s basically how they work. Artists create unique pieces of digital art (although in reality, this typically ends up just being marketers creating computer-generated collections, but whatever) that can then be acquired by people through two different means: minting, where you pay a set fee for a randomly assigned piece from a collection, or purchasing, where you just buy a specific piece through a marketplace. The idea is that by buying these digital pieces of art, you get digital proof of ownership that exists on the blockchain so everyone can see that the piece belongs to you.

Except it doesn’t really. Most NFTs are not actually the art itself, but instead are links to where the piece of art is stored. You own nothing, and that link can disappear or change at any time.

That said, frankly, NFTs and Meta make for a good fit. Facebook and Instagram are already rife with folks hocking pyramid schemes like scammy multilevel marketing companies and garbage forex trading frauds, so it’s only right that the platforms would become hosts for crypto too. NFTs are a particularly shady corner of the market — which is impressive because when it comes to shadiness, crypto as an industry is basically the dark side of the moon. Meta and NFTs deserve each other, really. It’s just a shame the rest of us will have to deal with Bored Ape avatars in our news feeds.