Image-focused app Instagram is officially evolving into a NFT marketplace, as its parent and social media giant Meta has started rolling out features that enable artists and creators to sell their NFT on Instagram. These features have so far been made available to a select group of creators on its platform within the US. Thereafter, it will be rolled out to users in other countries.

The initial round of selected creators includes Amber Vittoria, Dave Krugman, RefikAnadol, Isaac ‘Drift’ Wright, Diana Sinclair, Eric Rubens, Jason Seife, Vinnie Hager, Sara Baumann, Olive Allen and IIseValfre.

The notable aspect of Instagram’s latest features is that neither the creator nor the collector will need to pay any gas fees to list or purchase any NFT or digital collectible, at least not until 2024. The blockchain gas fees will be covered by Meta “at launch”, but no timeline for the same has been provided.

However, purchases made within the Instagram app on Android or iOS operating systems are subject to applicable app store fees and Instagram may add its own fees in future. This may cause concerns for some creators, as Meta’s past statements indicated that it intends to take a massive cut of sales made on Horizon Worlds, its flagship Metaverse product.

Instagram users are unlikely to be able to purchase NFT with crypto from the Instagram app, since both Apple and Google support in-app purchases only with fiat currencies. In the past, users had been able to get around the commissions by using buttons, external links or other actions.

Moreover, Apple’s newly announced 30 per cent commission fee on NFT sales would still apply to NFT transactions. Instagram will leverage the Polygon blockchain network to let users mint and sell NFT.

The feature will use the decentralized data storage protocol Arweave for the storage of its creators’ NFT. Instagram users will also be able to connect their Solana and Phantom wallets to showcase alternate forms of digital collectibles including video.

Earlier, the platform supported Ethereum, Polygon and Flow blockchains, as well as connections to third-party wallets including Rainbow, MetaMask, Trust Wallet, Coinbase Wallet and Dapper Wallet. NFT creators will be able to choose their royalty percentage between 5 per cent to 25 per cent and link their bank accounts or PayPal account to get paid.

Incidentally, Meta unveiled its entire NFT roadmap in June and rolled out its initial NFT features in August to users in more than 100 countries around the world. However, the platform’s core NFT functionalities, namely the ability for users to create, mint, buy and sell NFT with one another on Facebook or Instagram, were yet to be added then.

With the latest round of testing with selected creators, that is set to change as they will be able to sell NFT to their audiences on Instagram. In an effort to make this process a seamless one, Meta has promised that NFT sold on its platform would not incur any additional fees for the parties involved, until at least 2024.

Meta has revealed its set of plans to help content creators strengthen their businesses across its subsidiary platforms – Instagram and Facebook. It will also facilitate its community to purchase NFT within the app and the buying process will be the same as traditional in-app purchases across Android and IOS.

The entry of Big Tech into NFT points to growing competition between NFT marketplaces despite dwindling trading volumes and falling prices of NFT. It is expected to lure artists and creators to explore Web 3.0 further, create more monetization opportunities and bring NFT to a broader audience.