Salesforce employees are protesting the company’s reported plans to launch non-fungible token (NFT) services. Thomson Reuters Foundation News reports that about 400 employees have signed a letter circulated within the cloud software company’s messaging channels urging them to give up the crypto plans it apparently discussed internally last week. The letter cites the negative environmental impacts of NFTs, as well as their status as “unregulated, highly speculative financial assets”.
CNBC reported last week that Salesforce plans to launch an “NFT cloud” sales platform that will allow users to create and release token-based content, possibly even competing with the dominant OpenSea NFT marketplace. Salesforce Market Strategy Director Mathew Sweezey wrote in December that “you’ll be hearing a lot more about NFTs in 2022,” although he spoke generally about the tech world and the company hasn’t revealed any concrete plans.
The Thomson Reuters report notes that not all Salesforce employees are against the NFT plan. But opponents harshly criticized the move; at least one told the point of sale that it would quit if Salesforce launched the product.
“Our core values guide everything we do, including developing our products,” Salesforce spokesperson Karly Bolton said in a statement. The edge† “We welcome feedback from our employees and are proud to foster a culture of trust that allows them to express different points of view. We are organizing a listening session with employees next week and will use their input to strengthen our way forward.”
Crypto platforms have launched a massive recent publicity campaign, including during the Super Bowl last week. But NFTs and cryptocurrency have polarized large swaths of the tech industry, and some companies have reversed their plans after internal and external setbacks. Game companies Team17 and GSC Game World have canceled NFT projects altogether, and crowdfunding platform Kickstarter announced yesterday that it would slow the transition to a blockchain protocol.
Update 3:55 PM ET: Statement from Salesforce added.