14th January 2022
Twitter is in the news for allowing users to start using NFTs as display pictures.
This week Twitter began allowing some users to add an NFT as their profile image, following testing that began in November last year. The image is displayed in a new, hexagonal format and will have a direct link attached to the NFT listing on a blockchain to prove ownership.
NFT stands for non-fungible token and they are unique digital assets that live on the blockchain. In other words they can’t be duplicated and stolen as ownership is proven by the blockchain.
This is one of the latest instances of NFTs entering the mainstream with Twitter tapping into their rising popularity. Notably, Twitter has built an official integration process for its NFT images so that users can automatically display their ownership of the asset, making the integration straight forward. It also addresses the criticism that anyone can just right-click and save your image as their profile picture because only the user will have access to the official hexagonal format – which is a bit like getting the blue verified account tick in many ways.
Twitter isn’t the only company jumping on NFTs, many other brands and retailers are getting involved. Next week, high-street retailer Gap will debut its first collection of NFTs with a limited collection featuring work from Brandon Sines, the New York based artist. The brand’s NFTs will include a gaming component to encourage customers to engage. Coca-Cola teamed up with Tafi to auction special-edition virtual ‘loot boxes’ of NFTs to celebrate International Friendship Day last year, which saw the company recreate one of its iconic vending machines and also last year Adidas launched a new NFT that generated approximately $22mn in revenue.
One of the value propositions of NFTs is their ability to link virtual and real-life brand benefits, but it is not just big retailers taking the opportunity to use NFTs to sell, the South China Morning Post has launched ‘ARTIFACT’ Litepaper, allowing it to ‘tokenise’ key moments from SCMP’s 118-year-old collection of media assets.
And of course, NFTs were a big topic of conversation at CES last week. Samsung announced plans to bring NFT marketplaces to its smart TVs this year and many participated in talks around NFTs including celebrities like Paris Hilton who has invested heavily in NFTs and released her own.
From Twitter’s profile images to big brands taking the opportunity to sell something unique, NFTs are rising in popularity, especially as the frenzy around the Metaverse continues to grip the world. We’ll likely hear much more in this space as more and more brands start to play with NFTs as part of their exploration of what the Metaverse could mean for them and as they look for ways to translate their physical products and experiences into the Metaverse.