In August, Visa jumped into the NFT craze and bought a CryptoPunk for $150,000 in Ethereum.
Cuy Sheffield, head of crypto at Visa, said NFTs will play an “important role” in the future of retail, social media and entertainment.
This got me thinking about the industry I'm in (B2B SaaS), and whether NFTs belong there.
I think they do.
For those that don't know, an NFT - a non-fungible token is a unit of data stored on a digital ledger, called a blockchain, that certifies a digital asset to be unique and therefore not interchangeable.
NFTs can be used to represent items such as photos, videos, audio, and other types of digital files.
“Non-fungible” more or less means that it's unique and can't be replaced with something else. For example, a bitcoin is fungible — trade one for another bitcoin, and you'll have exactly the same thing. A one-of-a-kind trading card, however, is non-fungible.
Here are some of my NFTs:
Some of these have utility aspects, such as generating passive income, and getting exclusive access to networks and Discord groups. For example, ApeGang not only looks cool, but every sale helps real apes and preserves indigenous rights with ETH donations. It also gives access to a tight-knit community of crypto experts and marketing folks.
That's why I think the future of SaaS communities are NFTs, not Slack channels.
What if you could give your community a token with special powers (in the form of an NFT)? Invite your advocates to exclusive user conferences, access to your team, special content, product discounts, etc.
Similar to what Gary Vee is doing with VeeFriends.
By owning a VeeFriend NFT, you immediately become part of the VeeFriends community and get access to VeeCon.
The best part is that early adopters are rewarded financially for participating in the community. And they are incentivized to spread your message and promote community activities.
BTW, the floor price for a VeeFriends NFT is around $75,000 now 🤯
But there are some obvious challenges.
For one, you have to look at developer resources, capacity, and focus. Setting up an NFT project is a full-time job and requires a strong team of experts and engineers, so every SaaS company needs more immediate resources.
In a B2B SaaS context, setting up a crypto community project could be seen as a distraction to your core product. Customers might get upset the features they need are not getting prioritized.
NFTs could also (potentially) dilute your message. Are you selling me a product that I need? Or doing this weird crypto thing?
Companies are looking for vendors they trust and the crypto-angle might scare them off.
It's hard to ask customers to learn about your product AND teach them about NFTs.
But we're still so, so early, and as the NFT space matures, I'm hopeful it will get easier to setup a project and more customers will be willing to participate.
When this happens, I expect to see more crypto communities in SaaS.
Christian Baun is a lifecycle marketer with a background in email marketing, demand generation, and marketing automation.