NFT Weekly: Instagram Launches NFT Support With Sales in Its Sights; Metaverse Lawsuit Seeks Fair Use; Bored Ape Bloodbath

NFT, Instagram, Meta, BAYC

The biggest news in non-fungible tokens (NFTs) this week is that Instagram is launching a pilot allowing NFT owners to display — and hopefully help them sell — their digital collectables.

While they have many potential uses, from distributing music to tokenizing bond offerings, NFTs have mainly been a medium for owning digital art and collectables — particularly avatars in high-profile collections like CryptoPunks and Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC), which can sell for six and seven figures.

See also: PYMNTS NFT Series: From Famous Artists to Forgers, the Art World Embraces NFTs

The tools announced by Meta on May 10 will be primarily aimed at displaying NFTs and showing ownership, as they will be linked from digital wallets and will be displayed with a “shimmer” feature to show that they’re really NFTs, not just screenshots of someone else’s Bored Ape.

Read more: Instagram Trials NFT Sharing With Select Creators, Collectors

That said, Instagram made it very clear that helping creators and collectors buy and sell their tokens is a key goal of the program.

“Creators are using new technologies like NFTs to take more control over their work, their relationship with their fans, and how they can monetize,” the company said in its release. “At Meta, we’re looking at what creators are already doing across our technologies in order to improve the experience, help them create more monetization opportunities, and bring NFTs to a broader audience.”

Twitter has led the way so far, becoming the first major social platform to embrace the digital tokens by setting a special frame indicating that the image is linked to an NFT. However, Instagram is going beyond that, automatically tagging the NFT’s creator as well as its owner — another monetization-friendly feature.

“With the incredible opportunity of blockchain technology,” Meta said, “[creators] can now leverage new tools to earn income, and fans can support their favorite creators by purchasing digital collectibles — art, images and videos, music or trading cards — as non-fungible tokens.”

While no Meta NFT marketplace was mentioned, it’s a good bet that Meta will have its hand in the pie, in fitting with its announcement last month that its Horizon Worlds metaverse project would include payments tools to allow people and companies to set up shop.

Related: Meta Opens Its Metaverse Platform to Payments, and It Doesn’t Come Cheap

Of course, the fine print revealed that Meta would be keeping just shy of half of the proceeds on the sale of virtual goods and services, leading to an outcry — particularly given the company’s own harsh criticism of the 25% fees Apple charges on its App Store.

See also: The ‘Next Chapter’ In Art History? Digital-Only Work Sells For Close To $70 Million

Sued in the Metaverse

On the NFT commerce front, one of the big crypto insanity moments came last year when artist Mason Rothschild sold an NFT Birkin bag for more than the famously expensive purse goes for.

Read more: Hermes Trademark Lawsuit Against MetaBirkins NFT Artist Moves Forward

The creator of the iconic real-life Birkin, French fashion house Hermès, wasn’t amused, calling Rothschild’s “MetaBirkin” NFT line part of a “get-rich-quick” scheme piggybacking on a First Amendment fair use claim.

Rothschild said he was commenting on the “cruelty inherent in Hermès’ manufacture of its ultra-expensive leather handbags” and asked a federal judge in New York to toss the case, which some believe could set trademark precedent for NFTs and the metaverse.

It’ll get that chance, as the judge ruled the lawsuit could go forward. 

Bored Ape Bloodbath

 The price of top NFT collectable avatars is suffering just a much as bitcoin, Decrypt said on March 9. Its report noted that the “floor” sales prices for what it called an “entry-level” BAYC NFT is down more than 55% in 10 days, and many other high-profile projects like CryptoPunks and Moonbirds are down at least 20%.

Notably, the Otherside NFT project launched by BAYC creator Yuga Labs — which clogged Ethereum and set staggeringly high transactions fees for NFTs that allowed owners to buy virtual land NFTs in the just-announced, not-even-vaporware project — have officially dropped below their sale price, CoinTelegraph reported.

Related: Virtual Land Grab Raises $320M in Crypto for Developers of Bored Ape Metaverse

That said, as we noted last week, reports of the collapse of the broader NFT market are somewhat overblown.

Madonna Takes Beeple NSFW

Madonna has announced an NFT collaboration with Mike “Beeple” Winkelmann, the digital artist whose “Everydays: The First 5,000 Days” collage NFT sold for $69 million, helping launch the crypto tokens into the mainstream.

Called “Mother of Creation,” the first NFT features a virtual version of the famous — and famously controversial — singer giving birth. This is where we slap in a not-suitable-for-work (NSFW) warning, because while Beeple’s link is safe, be careful when clicking through to the video from there.

See also: NFT Weekly: The Popping of the NFT Bubble Has Been Declared Again, but Investments Keep Coming