Meta to wind down NFTs as part of ‘efficiency’ push amid layoffs

Meta to wind down NFTs as part of ‘efficiency’ push amid layoffs

Meta is winding down its support for non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on Facebook and Instagram.

The change was announced by Stephane Kasriel, Meta’s head of commerce and financial technologies, who said the company is shifting its focus to “other ways to support creators, people, and businesses.”

“We learned a ton that we’ll be able to apply to products we’re continuing to build to support creators, people, and businesses on our apps, both today and in the metaverse,” Kasriel continued.

“Let me be clear: creating opportunities for creators and businesses to connect with their fans and monetize remains a priority, and we’re going to focus on areas where we can make impact at scale, such as messaging and monetization opps for Reels. And we’ll continue investing in fintech tools that people and businesses will need for the future. We’re streamlining payments w/ Meta Pay, making checkout & payouts easier, and investing in messaging payments across Meta.”

Why it matters

Meta’s decision over NFTs is the latest evidence of an adjustment in Meta’s short-term strategy.

At the company’s earnings call last month, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said 2023 would be a “year of efficiency” for the company; he eschewed high concept talk of the metaverse and NFTs in favour of narrowing immediate strategy to improving monetisation efficiency for its various platforms.

NFTs were a hot commodity in 2021 and early 2022 before declining significantly in value last year. The sharp drop hurt NFT speculators and caused brands to reconsider their strategy around utilising the digital collectibles.

For Meta and other Big Tech companies, riding the NFT bandwagon and expanding its team to innovate made more sense when money was cheaper. With rising interest rates in response to high inflation, however, Meta has had to pivot, laying off staff and focussing on its main money maker—advertising.

On top of the 11,000 employees (13% of staff) that Meta laid off in November, the company is expected to further cull its workforce this week, which may affect thousands more.

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