The crypto market may have entered its deep midwinter, but that's not stopping mainstream tech companies from continuing to dabble in the space in the event that things heat up again. In the latest development, Snap is exploring ways to let artists show off their digital collectibles as AR filters on Snapchat.
According to a report from Financial Times, the company is set to start this experiment with a limited set of creators in August. In this test, artists will be able to create and mint NFTs on another platform and then import them into Snapchat as Lenses. FT's report noted that Snap doesn't plan to take any money from creators to show off their digital collectibles — just like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Rather, it is thinking about ways those artists can monetize their work.
Social media platforms have been taking different approaches to NFTs leveraging the particular dynamics of their respective platforms. Twitter was one the first ones to get onboard the NFT train by introducing the ability to set digital collectibles as avatars for its paid users.
In May, Instagram said it would allow a limited set of creators to show off NFTs in their Feeds, Stories and Messages. Last month, Facebook started testing a similar set of features for a limited number of users in the U.S. Last week Reddit launched its own NFT marketplace where you can buy digital avatars for a fixed price through fiat currency.
Snap's closest rival in the NFT space would be Meta, given the company has already said it wants to bring them into the "real world" using its own SparkAR technology. Plus, in an interview with FT, Meta's head of fintech Stephane Kasriel said the firm aims to create a marketplace for digital collectibles that could be used in metaverse.
The leak of the NFT test seems to be part of a mini product sprint at Snap: It's coming just days after Snapchat launched its premium subscription Snapchat Plus. With the company announcing its quarterly financial results on July 21, one thing to listen for is whether it elaborates any further on either of these fronts, which, conveniently, would help Snap bolster the message to investors that it's working on more ideas to generate revenue, to complement, or offset, whatever ups and downs it might face in the advertising market.
TechCrunch has reached out to Snap for a comment, and we'll update the story if we hear back.