Reports that Salesforce have been working on an NFT Cloud have been swirling since mid-February – with strong opinions on both sides. Ben’s earlier article summarized the truths, rumors, and controversies of the topic. Salesforce NFT Cloud – The Good, the Bad & the Ugly is well worth a read if you want to learn more about NFTs.
It’s official – Salesforce have launched their NFT Cloud pilot. Having heard Adam Caplan’s (SVP of Emerging Technology) announcement during CNX ‘22, I’m excited to see what’s possible.
Web 3.0, Made Easy
“Our customers have been asking us to help them navigate Web 3.0. NFT Cloud is all about helping our customers mint, manage, and sell NFTs – and of course, it’s all no-code.” – Adam Caplan, SVP of Emerging Technology
The ‘easy’ theme is reappearing for cutting-edge, complex technologies, even those of the Web 3.0 world.
The aim is for NFT Cloud customers to drive communities who are passionate about the brand. It’s a shift from being a customer to an audience, and now to a true community due to the element of ownership.
Salesforce see the appetite for NFT Cloud across retail (especially fashion), CPG, and media.
“Yes, the art should look great – but that’s not really the point, not how the brands we work with are leaning into this. Our customers are interested in utility. NFT holders receive benefits which could be in the physical or digital world – e.g. vote on a new line of clothing, receive a unique piece of clothing periodically.” – Adam Caplan
Salesforce are taking it a level further in planning to deliver a Web 3.0 CRM – in other words, to enable Web 3.0 data to work in harmony with the rest of your Salesforce Customer 360 platform data. There’s little divide between what’s happening in Web 3.0 and how that’s utilized across the organization in Salesforce’s vision.
NFT Cloud – Trust and Sustainability
“Salesforce are driven by our core values. As we enter into this space, trust and sustainability are paramount to how we’re approaching this.” – Adam Caplan
The potential backlash has been handled by building NFT Cloud in a conscious, sustainable way.
In terms of sustainability, Salesforce are:
- Launching the NFT Cloud pilot with Net Zero built in.
- Offering their customers sustainable blockchain options, including “proof of stake” blockchains.
- Automating carbon emission calculations, allowing brands to offset emissions by purchasing carbon credits.
- Working in conjunction with sustainability leaders across the globe.
When it comes to trust, in order to protect brands and their end consumers, we find that Salesforce have:
- Written and audited smart contracts for customers. This helps to reduce fraud and avoids other challenges that come with smart contracts from scratch.
- Partnered with third-party vendors to check crypto wallet risk, flag suspected harmful/illegal activity, prevent them from purchasing, and introduce capabilities to pause NFTs.
- A secure and authenticated check-out experience on first-party commerce sites, i.e. the brand’s own site. This helps to assure consumers that they’re buying authentic NFTs, directly from the brand.
To adopt NFT technology successfully, there are hurdles both consumers and organizations have to overcome. For the end-user experience, crypto wallets, seed phrases, etc. are not so simple to grasp. Companies have been restrained due to powers being centralized around one person; Salesforce are launching multi-sig which allows a company to have multiple people responsible for minting and moving money between wallets.
Are NFTs a passing fad? Who knows! Here are a couple of observations in the run-up to the pilot launch. Firstly, the overwhelming appetite and passion Salesforce have received from their customers – a willingness to experiment with NFT community engagement.
Secondly, launching an NFT community should not be taken on lightly; once launched, you’re in it for the long haul. Community members expect a lot (for example, a robust roadmap), which makes management and curation a crucial consideration. Brands need to expect to invest from a non-tech perspective.
Salesforce NFT Cloud has been made official, starting its pilot phase in June 2022. The aim is for customers to drive an entirely new breed of communities – a shift from being a customer to an audience, and now to a true community due to the element of ownership. Salesforce have thought this through carefully. NFT Cloud will go to market with trust and sustainability, two of Salesforce’s core values, by design.
Hand on heart, I would not have predicted Salesforce would be announcing the NFT Cloud pilot this soon. After listening to Adam Caplan (SVP of Emerging Technology), I share the excitement for what could be possible in terms of engagement and personalization.