Twitter’s latest feature that allows users to showcase non-fungible tokens (NFTs) as their profile pictures is “annoying”, said Tesla CEO Elon Musk on Friday.
Posting a screenshot of Twitter’s new feature, Musk said, “This is annoying” and followed up with criticism of crypto-related spam.
“Twitter is spending engineering resources on this bs while crypto scammers are throwing a spambot block party in every thread!?” he wrote.
Musk was considered a champion of digital assets until May 2021, when he questioned the environmental impact of Bitcoin mining.
He has since taken a more eclectic approach to crypto, although he continues to integrate digital currencies into his business, including accepting payments for merchandise in meme currency Dogecoin.
Twitter’s NFT profile picture
Twitter Inc on Thursday announced the launch of the tool, tapping into a digital collectibles craze that has exploded over the past year.
The feature, available on iOS to users of the company’s Twitter Blue subscription service, connects their Twitter accounts to crypto wallets where the users store NFT holdings.
Twitter displays the NFT profile pictures as hexagons, differentiating them from the standard circles available to other users. Tapping on the pictures prompts details about the art and its ownership to appear.
Like other tech companies, Twitter is rushing to cash in on crypto trends like NFTs, a type of speculative asset authenticating digital items such as images, videos and land in virtual worlds.
The social media platform last year added functionality for users to send and receive Bitcoin.
Sales of NFTs reached some $25 billion in 2021, according to data from market tracker DappRadar, although there were signs of growth slowing toward the end of the year.
Proponents of “Web3” technologies like NFTs say they decentralize ownership online, creating a path for users to earn money from popular creations, rather than having those benefits accrue primarily to a handful of tech platforms.
Critics dismiss the decentralization claims, noting that many of the services powering adoption of those technologies – like the six crypto wallets supported by Twitter’s NFT product – are backed by a small group of venture capitalists.
In a widely circulated tweet after the launch, security researcher Jane Manchun Wong highlighted one of those links, showing how an outage at venture-backed NFT marketplace OpenSea temporarily blocked NFTs from loading on Twitter.
An NFT is a unit of data stored on a digital ledger, called a blockchain, that certifies a digital asset to be unique and therefore, not interchangeable. NFTs can be used to represent items such as photos, videos, audio, and other types of digital files.
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