Salesforce is Building an NFT Cloud Service

Got a collection of very bored-looking Apes worth millions of dollars? Salesforce may soon have a place for you to sell them.
Aaron Drapkin

Salesforce has told employees that it plans to build an NFT cloud service, according to reports from US news outlets. 

Salesforce is best known for its CRM software, but Co-CEO Marc Benioff – who also owns TIME magazine and its line of NFTs – is evidently keen to branch out further. 

With increasing numbers of companies hurling money at NFT-related projects, the question of how long the “bubble” will last is well and truly open. 

What is Salesforce Actually Building?

Salesforce is hoping to create a cloud-based platform where artists can create NFTs and subsequently sell them. 

Co-CEOs Marc Benioff and Bret Taylor mentioned the idea in a private meeting, the details of which were passed on to CNBC by individuals who attended. Executives reportedly held up Pepsi’s foray into the NFT world as an example of what was possible. 

NFT trading platforms like OpenSea are already up, running, and processing billions of dollars of transactions – and Salesforce wants their own slice of non-fungible pie.

Salesforce insiders said that a platform for buying and selling NFTs could be integrated into the company’s existing sales tech ecosystem, within which all transactions could be dealt with. 

Salesforce chief Marc Benioff has already shown a keen interest in NFTs through his ownership of TIME Magazine; the magazine generates TIMEpieces, digital collectibles that allow readers to unlock content and events. 

NFTs: The Bubble that Just Won’t Burst – Yet

In short, NFTs are crypto assets that live on the Ethereum blockchain. They are “non-fungible” because they contain a digital signature, which can be used to verify ownership. Conversely, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are “fungible”, because they can be exchanged for one another. 

Although NFTs have been around since the early 2010s, only in the last few years has it turned into a multi-billion dollar industry. 

OpenSea, an NFT trading platform, recently raised around $300 million at a $13.3 billion valuation. According to decentralized app store DappRadar, total sales on the platform surpassed $23 billion in 2021.

Exactly how economically dangerous NFTs are is hotly debated. To be charitable to critics, NFTs exude all the classic hallmarks of an asset bubble – which materializes the price of a certain item, product, or object soars without any underlying fundamentals that can be attributed to the rise, such as demand outstripping supply, or genuine usefulness. 

But then again, similar things were said about Bitcoin, and now look how far that’s come. What’s more, one could argue we’re simply seeing concepts such as “ownership” and “value” are simply being redefined in real-time, or updated to deal with the increased interest in digital property. 

Salesforce Jump on the Blockchain Bandwagon

The news all but confirms that Salesforce is about to add its name to the long list of companies that are venturing into the world of NFTs – whether it'll be as successful as its CRM software remains to be seen.

Pepsi is one name Salesforce held up as an example in internal conversations but, in reality, that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Nike and Adidas have both broken ground with NFTs of their own, with the former currently suing StockX for “freeriding” on its trademarks and using them to produce tokens. Hermes is another big brand to have taken recent legal action over NFT-related trademark infringements.

Coca-Cola, McDonalds and Ray-Ban are three other business behemoths that are starting to lean more heavily on NFTs for marketing purposes.

If CEO Marc Benioff's TIME magazine NFTs are anything to go by, then Salesforce is heading into this increasingly competitive marketplace with serious intentions.

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Aaron Drapkin is a Senior Writer at Tech.co. He has been researching and writing about technology, politics, and society in print and online publications since graduating with a Philosophy degree from the University of Bristol three years ago. As a writer, Aaron takes a special interest in VPNs and project management software. He has been quoted in the Daily Mirror, Daily Express, The Daily Mail, Computer Weekly, and the Silicon Republic speaking on various privacy and cybersecurity issues, and has articles published in Wired, Vice, Metro, The Week, and Politics.co.uk covering a wide range of topics.

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