NFTs, or “nonfungible tokens,” are one-of-a-kind, verifiable digital collectibles, often works of art, that can be traded on the blockchain
, the technology that underpins cryptocurrencies like bitcoin. While not exactly new, NFTs have exploded into a lucrative industry
over the past year,
with digital art works selling for millions of dollars
, and artists, celebrities and companies jumping on board to make and sell them.
NFTs such as characters from the popular “Bored Apes”
collection have been popping up as people’s avatars on Twitter (TWTR)
in recent months. The new feature, which is only available to users who pay for Twitter’s subscription service, will go a step further. It will verify someone’s ownership of the NFT by linking the person’s digital wallet where the NFTs are stored to their Twitter account.
The images will also look different on Twitter than typical profile pictures. The new NFT avatars will show up as a hexagon, instead of a circle, and users can click on them to get more information about the artwork, including its creator and where it’s listed.
Twitter’s announcement comes as social media companies scramble to stake out their place in the growing NFT space. Meta Platforms (FB)
is reportedly considering launching a marketplace for NFTs on Facebook and Instagram, according to reports from the Information
and the Financial Times
It also marks Twitter’s latest foray into “decentralized” technologies. In July, Twitter’s founder and then-CEO, Jack Dorsey, said bitcoin would be a “big part”
of the company’s future. In September, the company introduced the ability for users to tip creators
using bitcoin. Twitter also announced last year that it was building a crypto team
to focus on cryptocurrencies, blockchain and related technologies.
The rollout of the new NFT profile pictures is fairly limited for now. The feature is available to Twitter Blue subscribers using the iOS app in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, although Twitter users on any platform will be able to see the new avatars.