In July, Reddit jumped on the NFT train, launching an NFT-based marketplace that allows users to purchase blockchain-based profile pictures for a fixed rate. Given the general sentiment around NFTs today, you might assume — like me — that the experiment ended poorly. But the opposite’s the case apparently.
Today during a panel at TechCrunch Disrupt, Reddit chief product officer Pali Bhat revealed that over three million Redditors have used Reddit’s Vault blockchain wallet to create over three million crypto wallets to date. Most of those — 2.5 million — were created to purchase NFT avatars that can be used as profile pics on the platform, he said.
It’s difficult to put the figures into context, given that not all NFT marketplaces willingly share those sorts of metrics. But Dune Analytics estimated in a recent report that one of the leading platforms, OpenSea, was hosting over one million active wallets as of January. Meanwhile, crypto wallet MetaMask was serving over 30 million users as of March.
Reddit partnered with roughly 30 artists to release around 40,000 NFT avatar designs a few months ago, which could be purchased via the Reddit mobile app at prices ranging from $9.99 to $99.99. (They’re all sold out at the moment.) Users who purchased one of the limited-edition pics got licensing rights to use it on and off of Reddit as an avatar, and could mix and match their avatar’s look using a built-in avatar builder tool.
Reddit partnered with Polygon, an Ethereum-compatible blockchain, to mint the avatars. (In blockchain jargon, “minting” refers to publishing a unique NFT so that it can be bought or sold.) Vault is used to store and manage NFTs through the Reddit app.
Reddit’s latest foray into the NFT space comes after the social network began allowing users to set any NFT as their profile picture, following on the heels of Twitter. At the time, NFT avatars were exclusively available to members of the r/CollectibleAvatars subreddit, which was invite-only.
Beyond NFTs, Reddit has branched in a number of different directions in recent months in search of new lines of revenue. The company has toyed with the idea of introducing TikTok-like video editing tools and made several targeted acquisitions, buying content moderation startup Oterlu, natural language processing company MeaningCloud, machine learning platform Spell and contextualization company Spiketrap. Reddit also revamped its developer portal to give third-party apps and bots a boost, and it upgraded its live audio product, Reddit Talk, with new discovery features.