When X rolled out the ability for paid subscribers to showcase non-fungible tokens (NFTs) as hexagonal profile pictures in January 2022, cryptocurrencies and NFTs seemed to be reaching a fever pitch of popularity. Major brands rushed to launch collections while prices for top NFTs soared into the millions.
Fast forward two years, and the crypto world looks much different. X has now quietly removed the NFT profile picture option from its premium Blue subscription, reflecting the growing disillusionment with digital collectibles.
Launched under X’s previous leadership, the feature allowed X Blue members to connect their Ethereum wallets and showcase owned NFTs as hexagonal profile pictures. The unusual shape let viewers recognize an NFT photo and click for details on the collection and contract.
But X recently eliminated all mention of NFT profile pics from its Blue support page without announcement. Users who previously set an NFT still have the hexagonal frame, but the capability to swap in new ones has vanished.
The change comes as the air rapidly leaks from the NFT bubble over the past year. After cresting in January 2022, monthly NFT sales volumes plunged nearly 90% by September. Even blue-chip collections like Bored Ape Yacht Club saw values tumble up to 85% from peaks, according to CoinGecko.
Enthusiasm has collapsed across both individual and institutional investors. From celebrities to big brands, those who rushed to cash in on trendy NFT drops now scarcely mention them. Crypto heads are back to talking about Bitcoin (BTC), a coin considered passé during the “Web3” hype only a few years ago.
Other social platforms also shut down their NFT experiments over the past year. Instagram and Facebook rolled out features for showing off and posting NFT ownership in 2022. But like X, parent company Meta quietly ended support for digital collectibles in 2023 without warning. The move reflected both sliding user demand and technical troubles smoothly integrating blockchain technology.
Industry experts argue that the NFT market rapidly became oversaturated, with too many low-quality collections chasing the short-lived hype. Casual investors who bought in near the peak lost big on what were marketed as high-value digital assets. Combined with the bursting crypto bubble in 2022, plunging values wiped out much of the speculative frenzy around digital ownership rights.
The lack of clear utility of many NFTs only helped ensure their rapid fall. Whilst the technology lives in other forms, it is unlikely we will see another hype cycle of profile picture NFTs like the one in 2021.
Now with X removing NFT profile pictures, don’t expect other social platforms to prioritize renewed integrations any time soon. According to Google Trends, interest in NFTs has steadily fallen from its high in January 2022—the same month Twitter announced the profile picture feature. Searches are down 94% from their peak, according to Google’s figures .
So for those hexagonal NFT profile pictures still sprinkled across X, enjoy them while they last. The next wave of digital collectibles hype remains a distant possibility as investors lick their wounds from 2021 and 2022’s irrational exuberance. X’s quiet change of course shows that blue-sky visions can soon return to earth, and surprisingly quietly, too.
Fans of non-fungible tokens still maintain the format has a future and the potential to hit another bull run. Promising use cases still exist for industries such as event ticketing, and digital identity. One of the most widely-touted paths back for NFTs comes with gaming, where NFTs could give gamers the ability to truly own unique in-game assets. However, that will require buy-in from studios and developers, a situation that looks a long way off yet.