Chief Content Officer,
Techstrong Group

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are about to be integrated into digital business processes as providers of software-as-a-service (SaaS) platforms, such as Salesforce, add tools that make it simpler to build and manage them.

Salesforce today made generally available Salesforce Web3, a set of tools that leverage a Web3 Connect application programming interface (API) that enables organizations to create NFTs via a few clicks rather than writing code. That NFT is then automatically integrated with the Salesforce marketing and customer relationship management (CRM) applications that Salesforce provides.

Organizations that have already been using Salesforce Web3 to create and manage NFTs include Mattel, Crown Royal and Scotch & Soda. In some instances, organizations are selling NFTs as collectibles that might increase in value, while others are giving them away for free to increase customer engagement, say Adam Caplan, general manager for Web3 at Salesforce.

Regardless of motivation, those organizations need to keep track of NFTs to prevent fraud as ownership of them potentially shifts whenever an NFT is sold or traded, he noted.

The Salesforce approach to NFTs relies on a proof-of-state blockchain platform the company created to minimize the carbon emissions that would otherwise be created when using a proof-of-work platform, such as the one used to transfer ownership of Bitcoins.
That approach also makes it possible for multiple organizations to collaborate with one another without adversely impacting sustainability goals, noted Caplan.

Ultimately, the goal is to make it possible to manage NFTs within the context of applications organizations already have in place by eliminating the need for a separate silo to manage them. Salesforce, for example, has integrated a digital wallet within Salesforce Web 3 that eliminates the need for a separate set of tools to deploy and manage them, notes Caplan. “The NFT data is not siloes in another platform,” he says.

It’s not clear just yet how much enthusiasm there is for collecting NFTs, but organizations are finding that, at the very least, they provide a way to engage customers more deeply. The NFTs that Mattel offered collectors of its Hot Wheels toy automobiles sold out in minutes, said Caplan.

Whether NFTs are here to stay or not, organizations looking for ways to increase brand loyalty have a new vehicle to engage customers. The challenge in the face of uncertainty about the long-term appeal of NFTs is to minimize the cost of providing that engagement. The Salesforce approach, by eliminating the need for a separate stack of software to manage NFTs, is in effect reducing the total cost of launching an NFT initiative in a way that should make it easier for organization to, at the very least, experiment. After all, the cost of experimenting with NFTs might be minimal compared to the lost opportunity to engage customers, even if NFTs prove long term to be a passing fad.

In the meantime, the number of digital processes that will at some point include NFTs is likely to increase. The issue now is determining the best way to manage them.