Cloud software giant Salesforce is taking the plunge into the NFT space. Today, the leading customer relationship management software firm revealed NFT Cloud, a platform to help brands and businesses mint and sell NFT assets.
NFT Cloud is billed as an easy-to-use stepping stone into the worlds of NFTs and the budding metaverse, letting brands tap Salesforce’s cloud-based tools to create and sell NFTs, engage online communities, and pull data from their offerings.
An NFT is a blockchain token that serves as a proof of ownership for an item, whether digital or physical. Popular use cases for NFTs include digital artwork, profile pictures, sports collectibles, and video game items. However, they can also be used for brand loyalty initiatives and to access things like private web communities and real-world events.
Adam Caplan, Salesforce’s senior vice president of emerging technology, told Bloomberg that brands are likely to use NFTs for those latter purposes—engagement and access—rather than selling collectibles without functional utility.
Salesforce NFT Cloud is currently a pilot program available to limited customers, but it’s set to be offered widely in October. The website for the initiative does not specify which blockchain platform(s) will be used to mint NFTs, however it won’t support any blockchains that use an energy-intensive proof-of-work consensus model. (Hundreds of employees who initially protested the idea cited environmental concerns.)
That means Ethereum, the leading platform for NFT collectibles, is currently off the table. Ethereum is in the process of transitioning to a more energy efficient proof-of-stake model, but there’s no firm ETA for when it will take place.
Platforms like Polygon and Immutable X are scaling solutions that cut down on Ethereum’s environmental hit, but it’s unclear whether Salesforce intends to tap any NFT platform that ultimately interacts with Ethereum’s mainnet.
The NFT market surged over the course of 2021, ultimately yielding $25 billion worth of trading volume, per data from DappRadar. Trading has been up and down so far in 2022, with activity falling in recent weeks amid a wider crypto market crash. Even so, NFT trading is on pace to smash last year’s tally, with nearly $16 billion in organic sales volume through April.