Outside of Dogecoin’s recent rise associated with Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter, the crypto market has continued to be rather boring, at least when it comes to prices. In terms of metrics such as adoption, software development, and new technologies, there is still plenty of progress happening in the space. Instagram has doubled down on its focus on non-fungible tokens (NFTs), allowing some users to create and sell NFTs directly on the platform.
If centralized, corporate social media platforms aren’t your thing, then you’ll be happy to know that Jack Dorsey’s decentralized social media network, known as Bluesky, has taken another step towards reality via a private beta. And finally, Bitcoin’s Lightning Network is proving to be a big help in terms of adoption as a medium of exchange with a major supermarket chain in South Africa now accepting payments via the layer-two crypto network.
While the NFT market has definitely seen better days, that hasn’t stopped Instagram from rolling out its new features related to the digital collectibles. That should come as no surprise, as NFTs are closely relate with the metaverse phenomenon, and CEO Mark Zuckerburg is so obsessed with this technology that he’s renamed Instagram’s parent company Facebook to Meta. For now, the NFT features on Instagram are in an early testing phase and only rolled out to a small number of users on the social media platform.
Those with access to Instagram’s new NFT section are able to create and sell NFTs directly within the app. Additionally, the NFTs are made on the Polygon blockchain and can be sent to outside. This can be sent to alternative crypto wallets if you want. Meta sees NFTs as a new way for digital content creators to monetize their work and for their audiences to support that work financially. That said, the long-term prospects of NFTs as a new asset class remain unclear.
The NFT market has seen greater than 90% decline in activity. This is since the peak of the hype around these tokens. However, a push from the likes of Instagram and other major social media platforms can help revive this crypto subcategory. In the future, Instagram plans to enable NFT issuance for videos as well (it’s just images right now). They will also expand to other blockchains like Solana and Phantom. Instagram first experimented with NFTs back in May of this year. This is when the social media giant allowed users to show off their NFTs natively in the app for the first time. This same functionality has also come to Facebook since then.
Crypto Hype Builds Around Twitter
Much of the social media news has been about Musk’s first full week in complete control of Twitter. However, there was also an update on Bluesky, which is the brainchild of Twitter founder Jack Dorsey. A beta version of the decentralized social network is in expectation to launch soon. It did receive more than 30,000 signups. This is for its waiting list over the first 48 hours after the initial announcement of its upcoming release. For now, Bluesky will operate in a private beta mode with a small number of users. Users are able to use the platform and provide feedback on what works and what doesn’t. This is in addition to reporting any bugs found along the way.
The idea of Bluesky is to build a new social media platform as a protocol not a single, centralized company. It’s like taking the concept of decentralization and permissionless access in BTC and applying it to the social media space. Bluesky’s Authenticated Transport Protocol (AT) is the foundation of their app that’s currently in development. The idea is for AT to operate as the foundation for a variety of new social media applications that are open source and interoperable.
Bluesky has described their app as sort of like a web browser for the AT Protocol. This work from Bluesky has been a work-in-progress for nearly three years now. This is as Dorsey originally announced the early stages of this project when he was at Twitter in December 2019.
Bitcoin first gained mainstream attention back in 2013 and 2014. Much of the focus around the cryptocurrency was as a means of making cheap, instant digital payments. Of course, much of that went out the window. This is as the crypto network became much more popular and started to hit the limits of its transaction processing capacity. Now, with the development of Lightning Network’s off-chain, nearly-free method of transacting, the payments use case for Bitcoin is making a bit of a comeback.
The most recent example of this is in South Africa. A locally well-known supermarket chain Pick n Pay is now accepting Bitcoin payments. Notably, the payments can only take place via wallets that operate on Lightning Network. The Lightning-base payments have already had tests at ten stores throughout the country. This has taken place over the past five months. However, the recent expansion has brought Lightning Network payments to 39 stores. Pick n Pay is said to bring Bitcoin Lightning Network to all of its stores, which go beyond South Africa.
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