Twitter will help users verify their NFT profile pictures—but only if they subscribe to its premium Blue service

January 21, 2022, 5:28 AM UTC

On Thursday, Twitter launched a new feature designed to help owners of non-fungible tokens (NFTs)—unique digital assets often linked to pictures of cartoon artwork—identify themselves on the platform. The social network will denote owners of NFTs with a hexagonal-shaped profile picture, rather than the circular window the rest of Twitter uses.

But there’s a catch: the new service is only available for subscribers to Twitter’s premium Blue service, which Twitter launched to a lukewarm reception last June.

On Thursday, Twitter announced its new NFT-verified photo service with a video explaining how Twitter Blue users, who pay $3 a month on the service, can unlock the hexagonal picture frame. Under the subscriber’s profile picture settings, there’s a new option to link their pic with a crypto wallet and use any NFT in that wallet as a profile picture.

The new feature also allows NFT owners to show off their stats. If you click on a hexagonal NFT profile picture, it brings up the details of what makes that NFT unique—like whether it’s from the coveted Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) collection, which produces the NFTs of cartoon monkeys that are each drawn with a unique combination of accessories or traits. On Thursday, tennis star Serena Williams revealed in a tweet that she owns a BAYC NFT with pink fur and teary eyes.

Before Twitter launched its new feature, a lot of users already used NFT photos as their profile pics, but NFTs have a fatal flaw. Anyone can right-click and save the picture and use the image as their own, without splashing out of hundreds of thousands of dollars to own it.

Crypto enthusiasts view the “right-click and save” technique as NFT theft, but crypto detractors see it as proof that the supposedly unique jpegs are worthless. Twitter’s new service gives NFT owners an added layer of verification, but it doesn’t solve the “theft” problem because another flaw with NFTs is that anyone can make them.

For example, any user can right-click and save a rare “gold fur” Bored Ape NFT—which is real and sold for $2.86 million last November—mint it as a new NFT, and then use Twitter’s service to get a fancy new hexagonal picture frame, as if their Ape NFT was legitimate. After all, Twitter Blue’s $3 subscription fee is much less than the cost of a genuine NFT. Some users already pointed out this flaw on Twitter Blue’s Twitter feed, but Twitter hasn’t proposed a solution yet.

As of Thursday, the profile pictures of many major crypto accounts on Twitter were still displayed in the old school circle frame. Serena Williams’s profile photo is still circular. Even the Bored Ape Yacht Club’s official Twitter account still sports a round picture window. That could be because the new service is only available on iOS where Blue is available—so far, just the U.S, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand—or it could be because such users haven’t subscribed to Twitter Blue.

Twitter’s new NFT verification option is partly intended to show how popular NFTs are, but, in the end, it may well demonstrate how unpopular Twitter Blue is.

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