NFTs and crypto wallets could be in Discord’s future

Discord is already the de facto home for NFT communities, but the company could be planning to deepen those connections in a big way.

On Monday, Discord founder and CEO Jason Citron tweeted a screenshot depicting Discord integrated with popular crypto wallet service MetaMask and WalletConnect, an open protocol that many mobile crypto wallets are built on. Citron employed the NFT Twitterverse phrase “probably nothing,” shorthand for this will be a huge deal.

The wallet support looks purely exploratory for now. Citron didn’t offer any details on how a hypothetical crypto integration would work or how serious Discord is about exploring crypto integrations and the company also declined to provide specifics.

“We’re always exploring and hacking away at things we think will improve Discord for all the communities we serve,” a Discord spokesperson told TechCrunch, adding that the screenshot was from a recent hackathon.

Discord’s interest in adding crypto features into the social chat app might be hypothetical, but if the company was to build in support for Ethereum those plans could go well beyond payments. Discord also recently polled users on their thoughts about NFTs.

Discord became a natural home for thousands of NFT projects this year. Many of those projects keep in touch with followers, send updates and track sales and market movement through dedicated Discord servers. It’s also the app of choice for coordinating distribution events, where NFTs are “minted” and sold or given out to supporters before eventually making their way onto trading platforms like OpenSea, often at huge markups (yes, usually for JPEGs).

While Discord could just have transactions in Ethereum and other digital currencies in mind, it’s also possible that Citron’s hint about MetaMask support suggests a more ambitious plan centered on NFTs. A coin like Ethereum can be used for basic payments and transactions, but the cryptocurrency also serves as the technical backbone for most NFTs, which are tracked and traded through smart contracts on Ethereum’s blockchain.

Discord is a savvy company that likely has a good idea of how people are already using NFTs to express their digital identities. Discord is a text and voice chat app where the main expression of user identity is through what avatar you pick — something that NFTs are all about right now. On Twitter and Discord, NFT-savvy users already pick their rarest — and often priciest — NFT to use as their PFP (profile picture). With MetaMask support, Discord could become a place where people display their NFTs in galleries linked to user profiles or choose “verified” avatar images, with ownership backed up through the blockchain.

The company is particularly well positioned to leverage its foothold in the burgeoning Web3 space — the next phase of the internet that many people predict will be defined by a wave of decentralization, digital goods and ownership-based virtual identity. But Discord’s also got a good thing going as it stands now.

On Twitter, Citron’s tweet combined with the survey the company sent out about “Discord & Web3” proved polarizing. A number of accounts rallied Discord users to cancel their premium Nitro subscriptions, which provide feature perks for a monthly fee, citing concerns that Discord might go all-in on NFTs. “Canceled my nitro sub, fuck @discord, and fuck NFTs,” one tweet with nearly 10,000 likes stated.

Others flocked to Citron’s tweet to bemoan Discord’s nascent crypto plans as scams and spam clogs up their community servers. Citron reassured some Twitter users that Discord created a new team to specifically address the rampant sketchy behavior that plagues many servers, including those centered around swapping and selling NFTs. “Spam and security are a top priority for us in this space,” Citron wrote. “We have recently spun up team working on it specifically. More to come soon.”