Discord pauses NFT plans following community backlash

The company says it will focus on reducing spam, scams and fraud instead.

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Discord doesn’t have impending plans to add NFT integrations, according to CEO Jason Citron. The clarification came on Wednesday following days of unrest stemming from a tweet Citron shared on November 8th. Replying to a message from investor Packy McCormick, the executive posted a screenshot of an unreleased Discord build with integrations to MetaMask and WalletConnect, two cryptocurrency wallet apps. “Probably nothing,” he said at the time. As TechCrunch points out, that’s shorthand in the NFT community for something that’s about to be a big deal. And it was, but almost certainly not in the way Citron had imagined it would be.

His tweet quickly became a magnet for upset Discord users who told Citron they would cancel their Nitro subscriptions if the company added crypto integrations. “Man, can’t wait to tell my friends that Discord is encouraging pyramid schemes at the grand cost of the environment, and persuading them to cancel their Nitro subscriptions and use competing platforms,” said one Twitter user, concisely summarizing the feelings of many the other people in Citron’s mentions. “Thanks for the heads up!”

According to gaming news curator Ryan Brown, Citron’s tweet caused internal dissent among Discord staff and led some studios to threaten to take their communities elsewhere. The backlash was such that by Wednesday Citron and Discord were forced to issue a response. “Thanks for all the perspectives everyone,” he said on Twitter. “We have no current plans to ship this internal concept.”

In a statement to Engadget, Discord shared an additional clarification:

“We appreciate all the perspectives we’ve been hearing in response to the internal concept you may have seen in a tweet earlier this week and want to clarify we have no plans to ship it at this time. We’re excited about the potential for web3 technology and the positive ways these communities are coming together on Discord, especially those organized around environmentally friendly, creator-focused projects. However, we also recognize there are some problems we need to work through. For now we're focused on protecting users from spams, scams and fraud.”

Uproar over a potential change is nothing new to the app space, but how loudly Discord users protested the company’s plans to integrate cryptocurrency wallets speaks to just how much those individuals love the platform. Discord grew by leaps and bounds during the pandemic in part because it offered a safe space for people to stay in touch with their friends while the world shut down. Many of those people don’t want to see that space change.