Hundreds of Salesforce employees are protesting against the company’s plans to offer non-fungible token (NFT) services, according to the Thomas Reuters Foundation.
More than 400 employees have signed an open letter addressed to Salesforce’s co-CEOs calling for them to abandon their crypto plans.
Marc Benioff and Bren Taylor, the company’s CEOs, revealed intentions to build up a portfolio of services to help companies buy and sell NFTs in a sales call earlier in February. NFTs are a type of digital asset based on blockchain technologies that signify unique ownership and are often tied to artwork or other media formats.
The letter raises concerns about the environmental impacts and financial risks of NFTs, calling them “unregulated, highly speculative financial assets”.
An £18 billion market in 2021, the NFT industry raises similar environmental concerns to cryptocurrency due to its large carbon footprint.
Not all Salesforce employees opposed the NFT plans, with some workers saying the company could help to responsibly build the NFT ecosystem through sustainable initiatives.
On the other hand, another employee who signed the letter threatened to quit if the NFT plan was realized. “I’ll find a company that lives by its stated values,” he said.
The turmoil comes as the crypto industry makes major strides into the mainstream, thanks in part to recent Super Bowl attention. However, the rise of digital assets has been more controversial than many would have expected.
Central to the debate are the two largest cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin and Ethereum, which still use energy-intensive “mining” methods to generate more currency.
In response to the dispute, a Salesforce spokesperson said: “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.”
The spokesperson added that Salesforce will hold a listening session with employees to inform its future plans.