Salesforce tells employees it’s working on NFT cloud service

Marc Benioff of the United States, Chairman and CEO of Salesforce.com, delivers a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on January 22, 2020.

Fabrice Coffrini | AFP | Getty Images

Salesforce told employees at a sales kickoff on Wednesday that the company plans to release an NFT Cloud, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

NFTs (non-fungible tokens) are unique digital assets stored using blockchain technology. They’ve taken off in the world of art and collectibles, and Salesforce sees an opportunity to bring the technology into enterprise software.

Salesforce co-CEOs Marc Benioff and Bret Taylor both talked about the strategy at the online event, said one person who attended. The person asked not to be named because the event was private. Executives at the meeting referenced NFT-related work that Pepsi has done as an example, another person said.

Salesforce, which provides cloud-based software for sales reps, marketing departments and e-commerce vendors, wants to offer a service for artists to create content and release it on a marketplace like OpenSea, one person said. Last month, OpenSea said it raised $300 million at a $13.3 billion valuation, on the back of a surge in NFT trading, which surpassed $23 billion in 2021, according to DappRadar, a store for decentralized apps.

Salesforce could also potentially integrate the tool into its own ecosystem, where transactions could be managed, the people said. A Salesforce-owned marketplace could mean there wouldn’t be a need to use OpenSea.

Salesforce’s interest in the space shouldn’t come as a surprise. Time magazine, which is owned by Benioff and his wife, Lynne, recently introduced TIMEPieces, a digital collectible that gives owners access to magazine content and events.

In a blog post on 2022 predictions published in December, Mathew Sweezey, director of market strategy at Salesforce, said that in the coming year “pioneering brands will search for utility via NFTs.” He called Time’s project a “great example,” and said NFTs will become more pervasive as they move beyond the novelty phase.

“To unlock their full potential, brands are going to have to start creating utility via the token,” Sweezey wrote. “In 2022, you’re going to hear a lot more about NFTs, and there will be winners and losers.”

A Salesforce representative didn’t immediately provide a comment.

Salesforce shares rose 1.5% in extended trading on Wednesday to $225.40. The stock was down 13% for the year as of the close.

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