Photo Credit: Unsplash/ Alexander Shatov
Discord has withdrawn plans to integrate Ethereum-based wallets for non-fungible tokens (NFT), after a significant number of its users ignited a severe backlash on social media. The reaction began on November 9 after Discord founder and CEO Jason Citron tweeted "likely nothing" with a screenshot of the app's user settings page showing the "ETH" icon and the option to connect Ethereum-based digital wallets like MetaMask and Wallet Connect.
Citron was then slammed by thousands of comments calling for Discord to abandon the plan. Some users even threatened to opt out of Nitro — a paid membership, which comes with global access to custom emojis from all the servers you are a part of, Nitro stickers, a custom Discord number tag, animated avatars, server enhancements, etc. Crypto skeptics claim that NFT is a ponzi scheme and is damaging to the environment due to the energy consumption used to mine the cryptocurrency.
"Even if we put the environemental impact aside, this whole thing is a big nonsensical scam and money laundering scheme," tweeted one Discord user. A thread on the official Discord subreddit titled "Discord developers: Please do not support NFTs" also received hundreds of replies, many of them talking about inherent problems with NFTs.
Citron was quick to insist that no one has anything to worry about. "Thanks for all the perspectives everyone," he wrote late Wednesday. "We have no current plans to ship this internal concept. For now we're focused on protecting users from spam, scams and fraud. Web3 has lots of good but also lots of problems we need to work through at our scale. More soon."
The "more soon" aspect of Citron's tweet also drew some flak as some users see it as running the issue under a carpet until strong sentiments died down a little. The list of respondents to Citron's tweet included a quote tweet from the founder of popular decentralised finance (DeFi) protocol Uniswap, Hayden Adams.
Adams claims that some of the backlash received by Citron as "pretty surreal" and an indication of how nascent a stage [Web3] is at the moment. He goes on to mention that although the environmental concerns raised by people will iron out over the next year, its the "misunderstanding and fear" surrounding NFTs that is bound to linger on for a longer space of time.
Some of the replies to this are pretty surreal, and a good reminder of how early in web3 we are— hayden.eth ???? (@haydenzadams) November 11, 2021
PoS + L2s will fully address environmental concerns over the next year imo, but the misunderstanding and fear will be around much longer https://t.co/ookaLiZdSe pic.twitter.com/tPgyJvOnVN
While Discord may be backing out for now, it probably won't be too long before the platform's userbase does a U-turn as NFTs and blockchain games skyrocket in popularity. What is unknown at this point is how long it will take users to reach that tipping point.