Bad news for fans of images of cartoon monkeys, with X removing its support for NFT profile pictures, which, till this week, had been a feature included in its X Premium package.
Originally launched in 2022, as a feature of its paid “Twitter Blue” offering, NFT profile pictures enabled digital art enthusiasts to showcase their radically overpriced JPEGs, and linked back to information about the art via users’ crypto wallets.
Conceptually, that fed into the push to use NFTs as a form of exposure for artists, and facilitating digital ownership. But the NFT market has crashed back to earth over the past 12 months, in alignment with the broader crypto blowback, amid questions of market need and ongoing regulatory concerns.
Essentially, crypto has increasingly been used for ill purpose, which has led to many crypto fans inadvertently learning the hard way why so many protections and regulatory steps have been built into the modern banking process.
Yes, it would be good to have an alternative system that avoids the fees and controls of the banking industry. But without them, crypto payments are open to exploitation and criminal activity, which has left many worse off.
Interestingly, there’s an ongoing push for more regulation of crypto assets, which seemingly goes against the main value proposal of the system. But regardless, crypto is no longer the cool tech trend, and as such, X is dumping NFT profile pictures as an option.
There’s no indication yet as to whether X will also roll back all of the existing hexagonal profile PFPs.
It’s a blow for digital art fans, though not a surprise, given that Meta has already scaled back its support for NFT display, and other platforms have moved away from their own digital art projects.
That’s not to say there’s no value in digital assets. There definitely is, as demonstrated by in-game purchases in popular gaming worlds like Fortnite and Minecraft. But NFT art is not it.
Increasingly, NFTs have been shown to be a misguided vision of the future, come too soon, but other forms of digital assets will become a bigger element in the next stage.