Stephane Kasriel, Meta’s head of trading and financial technologies, tweeted the news on March 13, saying that Meta is “winding down” its NFT support to “focus on other ways to support creators, people and businesses.”
Kasriel added that the company still prioritizes ways for users to “connect with their fans and monetize” and will focus on tools like building paid rails on its platform and through its messaging apps, along with monetizing Reels, the short-form videos , which contains on Facebook and Instagram.
Kasriel specifically mentioned the focus on Meta Pay, the company’s payment platform, which may support cryptocurrency in the future, according to trademark filings from May.
NFTs on the platforms were relatively short-lived, as testing began in May with select creators on Instagram before expanding to Facebook in June.
NFT capabilities expanded again in August when Instagram made NFT tools available to over 100 countries. Last November, Meta launched an “end-to-end toolkit” for minting and trading NFTs on Instagram.
The announcement received sharp criticism from the crypto community, with NFT artist Dave Krugman tweeting that it was “a short-term move” and that Meta “ended before [it] even started.”
“The confidence earned over the past year is now wasted,” Krugman added.
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Podcaster Marc Colcer said the move “seems short-sighted for a company that’s supposed to think long-term” and asked for transparency about Meta’s decision to scrap NFT support.
Allen Hena, co-founder of Web3 firm Earth Labs, was more serious with his feedback, saying Meta scrapped the idea when it “realized that using public crypto networks means you can’t exploit creators.”
Meta’s scrapping of its NFT tools is in line with other cost-cutting measures across the company as it shifts focus to its expensive metaverse ambitions.
Last year alone, its metaverse-building division Reality Labs recorded its biggest ever annual loss of $13.7 billion. Meta also made the first mass layoffs in company history in November, cutting 13% of its workforce, about 11,000 employees.