Salesforce employees are protesting the company’s reported plans to launch non-fungible token (NFT) services. Thomson Reuters Foundation News reports that around 400 employees signed a letter that’s circulated within the cloud software company’s messaging channels, calling on it to abandon crypto plans it apparently discussed internally last week. The letter cites the negative environmental effects 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 could let users create and release token-based content, potentially even competing with the dominant OpenSea NFT marketplace. Salesforce market strategy director Mathew Sweezey wrote in December that “you’re going to hear a lot more about NFTs” in 2022, although he was speaking generally about the tech world, and the company hasn’t unveiled concrete plans.
The Thomson Reuters report notes that not all employees at Salesforce oppose the NFT plan. But its opponents voiced harsh criticism of the move; at least one told the outlet he would quit if Salesforce launched the product.
“Our core values guide everything we do, including the development of our products,” said Salesforce spokesperson Karly Bolton in a statement to The Verge. “We welcome our employees’ feedback and are proud to foster a culture of trust that empowers them to raise diverse points of view. We are hosting a listening session with employees next week and will use their input to strengthen our path forward.”
Crypto platforms have launched a massive recent publicity push, including during the Super Bowl last week. But NFTs and cryptocurrency have polarized large sections of the tech industry, and some companies have pulled back on their plans after internal and external backlash. Game companies Team17 and GSC Game World canceled NFT projects altogether, and crowdfunding platform Kickstarter announced yesterday that it would slow its transition to a blockchain protocol.
Update 3:55PM ET: Added statement from Salesforce.