Twitter on Thursday began rolling out a feature that will let some users set NFTs that they own as their profile picture to signal their investment in the emerging digital art space. The move makes Twitter one of the best-known tech platforms so far to launch a feature for the flashy NFT trend.
What is NFT?
NFTs allow you to buy and sell ownership of unique digital items and keep track of who owns them using the blockchain. NFT stands for “non-fungible token,” and it can technically contain anything digital, including drawings, animated GIFs, songs, or items in video games. An NFT can either be one-of-a-kind, like a real-life painting, or one copy of many, like trading cards, but the blockchain keeps track of who has ownership of the file.
NFTs have been making headlines lately, some selling for millions of dollars, with high-profile memes like Nyan cat and the “deal with it” sunglasses being put up for auction. There’s also a lot of discussion about the massive electricity use and environmental impacts of NFTs.If you (understandably) still have questions, you can read through our NFT FAQ.
How to use this feature?
Choose an NFT, and your profile picture – typically enclosed within a circle – will get a nifty new hexagonal border. If a pesky right-clicker tries to use your NFT as their profile picture without first buying the token, they will still be able to use the image, but they will be stuck with the classic circle frame.
Of course, a truly committed right-clicker might simply re-upload that same image to an NFT platform, mint a visually identical NFT and use that as their profile picture instead, complete with a hexagonal frame signifying ownership on the blockchain. No word yet on whether Twitter will offer protections against that sort of thievery, which has grown rampant as the market for NFTs has exploded over the past year.
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.
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.
Twitter Blue subscription users are first to gain access to a new NFT Profile Picture feature:
While only iOS users will have the ability to set their NFT as their profile picture, everyone on Twitter will be able to see the new hexa-shaped picture no matter what platform they’re currently using, Twitter says.
The Twitter Blue subscription service is not yet globally available, which will limit the adoption of NFT Profile Pictures to the early markets where the offering is now live — the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand.