Just days after a report claimed Salesforce was planning to move into Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), the company’s employees have apparently began protesting agains the move.
Reuters reports that around 400 Salesforce employees have signed an open letter opposing its plans for an “NFT Cloud”, arguing that getting into the space raises concerns over its ethical and environmental impact.
In an open letter, Salesforce employees described NFTs as “unregulated, highly speculative financial assets”. Some drew umbrage on internal chat forums at a recent Super Bowl advert that painted Salesforce as committed to sustainability.
“The amount of scams and fraud in the NFT space is overwhelming,” the letter says, before talking about crypto’s carbon footprint and uneven financial distribution. “We implore you to reconsider.”
A Salesforce spokesperson said that “our core values guide everything we do, including the development of our products. We welcome our employees’ feedback and are proud to foster a culture of trust that empowers them to raise diverse points of view.”
Salesforce’s co-CEOs had, among other things, floated plans for an NFT Cloud, which would help users create and host NFTs for sale, rivalling platforms like OpenSea. The company, best known for its CRM tools, is looking for ways to challenge AWS and Azure through potential new revenue roots.
As cryptocurrency has gone mainstream, opposition has been fierce. Some see cryptocurrencies as breaking down financial and social disparities; others, backed by evidence, show that only a few hold most of the crypto wealth.
In terms of NFTs, for example, a recent analysis found that just over 32,000 wallets hold a staggering 80% of the value. The same analysis found that nearly $41 billion was spent on NFTs in 2021.
The most potent criticism surrounds their emissions. Bitcoin and other blockchain-based currencies often use Proof of Work systems that require huge amounts of computational power to solves ever-harder mathematical problems to claim the reward (eg, BTC).
As the computations get harder, more energy is needed. While researcher disagrees on the specific power usage level, it is certain that cryptocurrencies are using a lot of energy, so much so that China has banned mining entirely.
The climate crisis will only intensify over the coming years and it seems fairly reasonable to object to the emissions from a speculative, fictitious asset class with limited real-world value.
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